With COVID spreading in Washington state, residents have options to stay healthy and free of severe illness this winter.
From updated vaccines to prompt access to therapeutics, Washingtonians can avoid the threat of serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19's omicron variants that are circulating through the state.
“Taking proactive steps including staying up to date with your vaccines, while also ensuring you get access to therapeutic drugs like Paxlovid, can prevent serious infections this winter,” said Washington Health Alliance Executive Director Dr. Drew Oliveira, a board-certified family medicine physician.
While Washingtonians were among the most vaccinated in the nation during the early phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the number of individuals receiving the latest bivalent booster has been lagging across the state. As of late January, two-thirds of eligible Washington residents have not received the latest bivalent booster.
With the omicron variant, and its subvariants, continuing to spread across Washington state and the rest of the country, the bivalent vaccine booster is now the most up-to-date protection against infection.
Availability of this latest booster is still high across Washington state. Anyone six months or older is eligible if they finished their primary course of vaccine or received their latest booster two months earlier.
The bivalent booster is safe and effective. It has been shown to limit the likelihood of hospitalization from a COVID infection.
For more information on where to get a bivalent booster, Washington residents can visit: https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/
While COVID-19 vaccines have worked to limit the spread of the virus, those who do contract COVID-19 now have broad access to the therapeutic drug, Paxlovid, which can lessen the severity of an acute infection.
Individuals with COVID should start Paxlovid within five days of developing symptoms. Washington residents can access Paxlovid at no out-of-pocket cost, similar to the vaccine.
It is recommended those testing positive for COVID should contact their medical provider.
Regulators recommend Paxlovid for those with health conditions that could put them at a higher risk for a severe infection. This includes individuals over the age of 50 and those with certain medical conditions.
For a list of medical conditions that put individuals at higher risk for severe COVID infections, please visit: https://www.paxlovid.com/who-can-take