BALLSTON SPA — In September, Saratoga County began offering clinics for seniors regarding updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
The boosters - called a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine - include components of the original virus strain and the Omicron variant and are designed to provide better protection against the Omicron variant, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Saratoga County Health Services Commissioner Dr. Daniel Kuhles recently provided the county’s Health and Human Services Committee with an update regarding the status of the vaccination clinics.
“On the bivalent COVID vaccine initiative, we’ve been focused on our seniors, who can either register online or call our call center,” Kuhles said. “We’ve had clinics almost every day since September.” Most recently, the county staged Moderna Bivalent Booster Clinics at the county Public Safety Building in Ballston Spa, and Pfizer Bivalent Booster Clinics at Galway Town Hall and at Mechanicville Senior Center.
Comparatively speaking about 7.3% of the US population and 8.5% of the population in New York State has received a bivalent booster, Kuhles said. “In Saratoga County, it’s 13.56 % and 35% of seniors. So, while the overall interest across the nation is low, we continue to outperform the nation and the state.”
Appointments are required, and information may be found via the county website at saratogacounty.ny.org. The county clinics restrict the bivalent vaccine to seniors. For all others, boosters offered at pharmacies and other locations may be found via the CDC (search at: vaccines.gov, or call 1-,./ 800-232-02330).
New Yorkers ages 5 and older are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster dose and New Yorkers ages 6 and older are eligible for a Moderna bivalent booster dose.
The middle of November has, over the past two years, traditionally been the start of a major regional spike in COVID infection, according to state reports.
Nov. 12, 2020 marked the first fall time surge as the Saratoga County 7-day average infection rate topped 20 cases per 100,000 - peaking at 82 in January - and staying above 20 until April 26, 2021.
A similar fall surge took place last year, climbing above 20 per 100,000 on Nov. 5, 2021, peaking at 380 in January, and staying above 20 through Feb. 15, 2022. Since April, the weekly average has fluctuated little, maintaining an approximate 20 cases per 100,000 rate of infection. Those numbers, sourced via the NYSDOH database, do not include self-administered home tests.
Overall, there have been 2,262 hospitalizations and 376 deaths of county residents since 2020, according to Saratoga County’s Department of Health COVID Surveillance data.
Of those hospitalized: 304 were vaccinated and up-to-date with booster recommendations, 608 were vaccinated but not up-to-date with booster recommendations, and 1,350 were not vaccinated.
Regarding deaths: 39 were vaccinated and up-to-date with booster recommendations, 73 were vaccinated but not up-to-date with booster recommendations, and 264 were not vaccinated.
For more information on county government matters, go to: saratogacountyny.gov.