HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — As pandemic responses are winding down, COVID is still around, and confusion about vaccine eligibility and immunity continue. UAB Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Rachael Lee likes to think of it as like a tree that has a lot of different branches. "We're seeing a lot of these different variants. Luckily the W.H.O. and the CDC are monitoring those variants very closely."
Lee said one important thing to note is that the CDC has updated their vaccine recommendations. So who's eligible? "Anybody over the age of 6 months should be able to get vaccinated, and it's really simple. You can go to the CDC website to see where you are in terms of if you need to get a vaccine."
When it comes to eligibility guidelines for this latest vaccine, Lee says, "It's recommended for everybody. Regardless if you haven't had the COVID booster that has that Omicron specific variant in there. And then from there, if you've you've been updated and boosted on your vaccines, if it's been more than four months since the last time you've had that vaccine, there are some people that may benefit from another booster, and those are going to be people over the age of 65 or be had some sort of immunocompromised illness like cancer."
So will COVID be apart of our lives forever? "So I hear you. I completely understand not wanting to talk about COVID and not wanting to really engage with it anymore. You know, I think of it more like I do with influenza now. You know, when you get influenza or a flu that people are down for a three days and that really knocks you out, and then if you have loved ones that get sick and they can get into the hospital, and so we want to think of it very similarly we have so many tools to really protect us and I think that we should go back to life as normal, but also recognizing, hey, maybe don't go to work when you're not feeling well and let's make sure we've got all the protection we can with our vaccine. And, you know, I still carry a mask in my purse or on my in my car in case I'm in a very crowded area and I'm hearing a lot of people coughing," Lee explained.