Emily Rice Published

Officials Advise Caution Against Fall Respiratory Illness

A 3D rendering of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spike ball.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

A new vaccine to protect against the many strains of COVID-19 will be available at the end of September.

Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus czar, stressed that threats from the coronavirus haven’t gone away during Gov. Jim Justice’s regular briefing. 

“Many people are asking, why would I need to consider this updated shot and the reason why is because this shot is directed against the newest and latest most common forms of COVID-19 that are circulating,” Marsh said.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported three additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 since last week’s update for a total of 8,183.

Marsh said the new vaccine is highly effective at protecting against the most common forms of the virus, belonging to the Omicron family.

While COVID-19 is still a threat, Marsh also cautioned against other forms of respiratory illness that become prolific in the fall. A new preventative medication against Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) will be available and Marsh recommends those 8 months and younger receive the preventative medication.

For adults more than 60 years old, Marsh recommends the new RSV vaccine to avoid the illness.

“That RSV shot is truly a vaccine and we recommend that anyone over 60 or any child eight months and under be given those respective shots with the winter upcoming,” Marsh said.

According to Marsh, the benefit of the vaccines that have been given is limited to about four to six months and recommended those in high-risk groups check the state’s vaccine calculator to check if they are up to date on their shots.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.