County clinics, pharmacies offering bivalent boosters in South Jersey

Trish Hartman Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
County clinics, pharmacies offering bivalent boosters in South Jersey
The new vaccine targets both the original strain of COVID-19 and the dominant omicron strains, and it will replace the old booster.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- There's a new kind of Covid-19 shot coming to a pharmacy or clinic near you.

The US Food and Drug Administration and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on updated boosters that target the original strain of the coronavirus as well as the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. The hope is that these shots will improve protection against the currently circulating viruses that cause Covid-19.

On Thursday, Karen and James Simons lined up at the Camden County Health Hub in Blackwood, New Jersey to get boosted.

"We got a notice yesterday from the NJ Department of Health. (It) said the vaccines were available today so we figured we're right around the corner, let's go do it," said James.

"Vaccinations work. That's why we're here," added Karen.

The site in the parking lot of Camden County College started administering the new bivalent booster Thursday.

SEE ALSO: New bivalent COVID-19 boosters begin going into arms | Where to get one

"COVID is becoming like the flu," said Emily Capella of Cherry Hill. "And I get a flu shot every year to kind of protect myself and I feel the same about COVID."

"Today we have already 50 appointments on the books and we are accepting walk-ins as they come," said Caryelle Lasher, director of health and human services for Camden County.

Camden County is also waiting on flu vaccines, and officials hope to be able to offer both flu and COVID shots at the hub within the next few weeks.

Pharmacy chains CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens are encouraging people to book appointments online to ensure that a given location has the new booster.

In Burlington County, clinics are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 14, and officials are encouraging anyone eligible to get one.

"Here in Burlington County and really across the state, we are still seeing high transmissibility because omicron is just very infectious," said Burlington County Health Director Dr. Herb Conaway.

But one hospital system in our area -- St. Luke's University Health Network -- has put out a statement saying it does not yet strongly endorse the new vaccine, in part because human trials are not yet complete.

Conaway says the new boosters - like the old ones - are safe and effective.

"I would say this is just another in a series of minor changes, but important changes to the vaccine that many millions of people have taken," said Conaway.