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King County health officials urge new COVID-19 booster, flu shot

A man is about to insert a needle into a person's arm.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press
DeMarcus Hicks gives a person a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot Dec. 20, 2021, at a vaccination clinic in Federal Way.

SEATTLE (AP) — Health officials in Washington’s most populous county are urging people to get the new COVID-19 booster.

Public Health – Seattle & King County’s health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said in a briefing Tuesday that even people who have had a booster shot should get all recommended doses for maximum protection, The Seattle Times reported.

Community transmission is relatively low in King County, with about 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week. The new booster is a bivalent vaccine, meaning it's the original COVID-19 vaccine formula plus the BA. 4 and BA. 5 spike protein components. Together they give additional protection by targeting the omicron subvariants that are more transmissible.

An initial allocation of 191,100 booster doses is headed to providers throughout the state this week.

Officials recommend people 12 and older who have already received their initial vaccine series sign up for a booster appointment with their health provider or local pharmacy.

Officials are also urging people to consider getting a flu shot.

“After the relatively quiet seasons that we’ve had the last few years with little influenza circulating, it’s quite possible that the reintroduction of influenza will be more severe because lots of people haven’t seen flu for a couple of years and therefore their immune systems just aren’t primed and ready for it,” Duchin said.

He suggests one shot for the flu in one arm and a COVID booster shot in the other, if possible.

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