JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — For those starting their COVID-19 vaccine journey or looking to get their first booster it could come with some cash. JeffCo Public Health is continuing to offer incentives for a percentage of people who are still starting their vaccine journey.
9NEWS spoke to Sarah Kuettel the immunization supervisor at JeffCo Public Health to lean about what the incentives are and the wide variety of vaccines available.
9NEWS: What are the incentives for those still looking to get vaccinated?
Kuettel: So if you haven’t received your first booster there’s gift cards available for that as well. So it’s $25 for each dose for the primary series and then $50 for the booster dose and it’s for anyone ages 12 and up. Unfortunately, we can’t give it to kids, it’s a little to incentivizing.
What is it important for people to continue to get vaccinated?
Kuettel: It’s so important to continue to stay up-to-date with all the recommended boosters that is because we do have some waning immunity especially if you haven’t had the wild type COVID and you just received the vaccines, you could be at risk. If its been a long enough period since your last dose, it’s important to stay on top of it and remain vaccinated, that way you know you are safe, you know you are protected and you can protect the others around you.
It’s so important to always continue to be vigilant and take care of yourself, do those self monitoring assessments, making sure that if you aren’t feeling good you’re staying inside, you’re staying at home you’re away from others. Getting vaccinated is the best path to protection that we have right now.
JeffCo just announced its offering the Novavax vaccine, what is the difference of that shot compared to Pfizer or Moderna?
Kuettel: Novavax is a new type of COVID 19 vaccine. It’s a little different than the mRNA vaccines that we have out there such as Pfizer and Moderna and it’s different than the adenovirus vaccine like J&J. Although it is different and it’s new, it’s not new in terms of our routine immunizations. It has been used before in certain vaccines such as Hepatitis B and shingles.
The difference is it uses a protein subunit as opposed to the mRNA that uses messenger RNA and the adenoviruses.
We definitely like to call [Novavax] a traditional style vaccine because it has been used in the past. We’ve used it with other types of routine immunizations where people who have had bad reactions to mRNA vaccines can now get this Novavax vaccine to protect them against COVID-19.
Has anyone come in with any interest in it?
Kuettel: Yea, we’ve had a couple of people come in and getting it. It is only for first and second doses so those who already received their primary series of vaccine cannot receive this as a booster dose as of yet. So just for the first and second doses, really trying to get those folks in who have a hesitancy towards the mRNA or J&J vaccine to offer this Novavax vaccine.
Is the second COVID-19 booster also available?
Kuettel: The booster is already available in our clinic at the JeffCo Health Department. So the FDA and the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices met and approved the use of this updated booster. Some are referring to it as the Omicron formulation or bivalent booster dose. So essentially it has the original vaccine component as well as that subunit to kind of protect against that Omicron variant that we are seeing in most cases today.
Who is eligible for the second booster?
Kuettel: So anyone over the age of 12 is eligible for this booster as long as there’s been 2 months since their last dose of any COVID vaccine.
Are you expecting demand for the second booster shot?
Kuettel: I know that we’ve been receiving calls and other forms of notification asking if we do have it yet and we do, so we are ready. We have wonderful nurses ready to assist.
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