FIND A LOCAL VACCINE PROVIDER HERE or click on graphic above to use the new, real-time tools that allow users to specify which particular vaccine(s) they seek.
All COVID vaccines are FREE for everyone living in the U.S. & do not require ID.
TESTS AND MASKS UPDATE:
Americans can order 4 free coronavirus tests online now at www.covidtests.gov/. They will ship in late January. RVH&D is distributing free test kits locally at 3 locations. Details, locations & pick-up times.
The government is making 400 million nonsurgical N95 masks available, free of charge, at community health centers and retail pharmacies across the US, beginning at the end of the week. The CDC recommends surgical masks or high-quality masks over cloth masks. High-quality masks, called N95 or KF 94, that are fitted to cover nose, mouth, and chin completely without any gaps, will filter out 94 or 95% of aerosols containing the COVID virus. The federal government is supposed to make them available for free in a few weeks. In our high transmission area, everyone should mask in public. Symptoms for the vaccinated are generally mild. Initial symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of a bad cold, with a runny nose, sneezing, headache and a sore throat. If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms, get tested. RiteAid and River Valley Health & Dental provide free PCR testing locally. NIOSH certified N95 masks and test kits are available from the non-profit projectN95.org.
The highly contagious Omicron variant accounts for 95% or more of all new COVID-19 cases While Omicron appears to remain mild among the vaccinated (unless their health is already precarious), hospitalizations are likely to increase simply because the variant is so contagious. The best protection against the raging Omicron variant is to be vaccinated and boosted and to wear a properly fitted, high quality mask when in public indoor spaces. Boosters provide up to seven times more antibody protection than what folks with normal immune systems typically have five months after their second mRNA shot.
When someone is fully vaccinated, that person is 5 times less likely to become COVID-positive, 12 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19, and 11 times less likely to die.
The CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) transmission occurs early in the illness, usually in the 1-2 days before onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. People who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days. The CDC also recommended Moderna and Pfizer vaccines over J&J.
BOOSTERS AND PILLS UPDATE:
The FDA and CDC approved Pfizer booster shots for 12-15 year olds and some immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11. Boosters are recommended for everyone 12 or older who received the Pfizer vaccine at least 5 months ago, or the Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago, or the J&J vaccine at least 2 months ago.
The FDA approved Pfizer and Merck COVID pills for high-risk patients 12 and older to defend against severe illness. The pill is not a substitute for vaccination. 97% of people hospitalized and 99% of people dying of COVID are unvaccinated.
Help stop the spread of COVID by getting vaccinated, boosted and wearing a high-quality mask over nose and mouth. Information for every county in the U.S. may be found on the CDC’s COVID-19 virus tracker website.
VACCINES FOR CHILDREN:
The FDA and CDC authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11. Younger children will receive one-third of the dose authorized for those 12 and older, delivered with smaller needles and stored in smaller vials to avoid mix-ups with adult doses. Like older kids and adults, young children will return three weeks after the first dose for a second shot.About 28 million children in the group will be eligible to receive one-third of the adult dose, with two injections three weeks apart. Parents can call their pediatricians, or go to Vaccines.gov to find locations offering the children’s COVID vaccine.
Rising local cases include children and adolescents. None of the three hospitals in Lycoming County, has a pediatric ICU (so no pediatric mechanical ventilation will be possible locally), and only UPMC/Williamsport has a small inpatient pediatrics unit where children and adolescents can be treated. Youngsters requiring critical care will need to be transferred elsewhere.
VACCINES AND PREGNANCY:
The CDC issued an advisory urging pregnant individuals, those planning pregnancies, or are.currently breastfeeding to get vaccinated as soon as possible, The CDC went on to warn that there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including severe illness and death for infected pregnant and recently pregnant people, plus heightened risk of preterm and stillbirths for the infants.The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that everyone over age 2 wear masks in schools, even if they have been vaccinated. C.D.C. officials also recommended universal masking for teachers, staff, students and visitors in schools, regardless of vaccination status and community transmission of the virus. Exceptions may be made for those with medical or developmental conditions that complicate mask wearing.
Mobile vaccination clinics at your organization, workplace, or faith community site can be set up with River Valley Health & Dental.
Walk-in Vaccinations are available at River Valley Health and Dental Center and Rite Aid, Wegmans, and CVS pharmacies. Discount coupons given at Rite Aid & CVS.
Transportation: Free, Pre-scheduled Transportation to COVID vaccine appointments is available from River Valley Transit, Lyft. and Uber. STEP and Rabbit Transit are providing free transportation to COVID vaccination appointments for people ages 60+ and for everyone on Medical Assistance.
Let’s end COVID! PODCAST:
Listen to Keeping our Community Safe and Open, our second podcast episode.