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Latest version of COVID-19 vaccine now available on Central, South Coasts: should you get it?

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KCLU
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Public Health experts in region recommend everyone 12+ get it, saying it provides new protection against some of the latest variants.

Some people had to be convinced to get COVID-19 vaccinations, and others did not. Percy Hicks-Severn of Newbury Park didn’t need convincing.

"I'm a big believer in vaccinations," said Hicks-Severn. "I got the two vaccinations, and then the two boosters.

The 81-year-old woman still got COVID, but believes it was much milder because she was vaccinated.

Now, the latest booster is available on the Central and South Coasts, one that’s expected to provide the first major new protection against recent variants.

"It addresses two different variants of the COVID," said Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin.

He said it deals with the original form of COVID, as well as the two more recent versions.

He says the new vaccine is designed for those 12 and older. Who should get it?

"Everyone should get this vaccine," said Dr. Levin.

But, he says you should check with your doctor. A tiny percentage of people have reasons they shouldn't get it, like an allergy to the original vaccine.

There are Pfizer and Moderna versions of the latest booster available. Dr. Levin says it doesn’t matter what type you’ve had in the past as you decide which one to get.

With flu season just around the corner, you can also get that shot at the same time. There's no issue with getting both shots during one visit, but providers will put one in each arm.

If you didn’t get a second booster, this would be it. The timing of when you get it depends on when you got your last booster, or whether you’ve had COVID in the last few months.

Hicks-Severn said she'll get the latest booster as soon as she is eligible.

One of the big questions public health officials are being asked is about what to expect this fall, and winter. Could we see another major surge?

"The winter will bring us indoors, and and bring us in closer contact, and that could mean an increase in cases... but I don't know we'll see a sharp spike," said Dr. Levin.

But, he said the other issue is whether we see another new variant.

About three quarters of Tri-Counties residents are now fully vaccinated, but combined with those that have immunity from getting the virus, the protection rate is considered to be in the high 90% range.

While masking requirements are now gone in most settings, the Ventura County Health official says it isn’t a bad idea to do it still.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.