The latest COVID-19 vaccine boosters have arrived in Juneau

Juneau’s Emergency Operations Manager Robert Barr and Rebecca Embler, a member of Bartlett Hospital quality team during Juneau’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Centennial Hall on Jan. 15, 2021, in Juneau. Barr said on Wednesday that the environment and feeling around the rollout of the latest booster is completely different from the initial vaccine rollout. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

The latest, improved COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are now being distributed in Juneau. Most people who have had their primary series are eligible, but children under age 12 are not.

Juneau’s Deputy City Manager Robert Barr said the pharmacy at Costco had some of the first appointments this past weekend.

“Most providers in town are waiting for their first shipment,” he said during KTOO’s Juneau Afternoon on Wednesday. “Pretty much all of the same pharmacies that have been vaccinating to date will be getting this updated booster. So people can use who they’re comfortable with and used to.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone stay up to date on these vaccinations.

These new boosters have emergency use authorization from federal authorities. They’re “bivalent,” which means they target two strains of COVID-19: the original one and omicron — specifically, the two omicron subvariants that have become the most widespread.

Barr said the planning meetings he’s been having with distributors and providers don’t have the urgency of the early days of the initial vaccine rollout.

“It’s a completely different environment, it’s a completely different feeling,” he said.

But he said it’s important to remember that protection against severe illness from COVID-19 wanes over time, and for most people, boosters restore that protection.

Barr said the city is also working on putting together a pop-up vaccine clinic in October. The specifics are not set yet.

NPR reports that White House officials are saying COVID boosters could become a regularly updated, once-a-year shot, like people get for the flu.

The CDC has a short questionnaire on its website that helps steer people to what type of vaccine or booster they should seek to stay up to date.

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

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