KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The new COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been rolled out and is now available at doctor’s offices, but who should get it?

The FDA has shifted from calling the new COVID-19 shot a booster to calling it an updated vaccine. It was manufactured to combat the current variant that’s circulating.

While one local hospital is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, an area pediatric group has no cases.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months of age and older get the new COVID-19 shot, vaccine hesitancy is high.

PAK Pediatrics in Kingston has just received its first shipment of the new COVID-19 vaccine, but parents are not rushing here with their kids to roll up their sleeves for the latest shot.

COVID-19 hesitancy and fatigue are real here at PAK Pediatrics, but Dr. Alvaro Reymunde ensures the vaccine is safe.

“I get a lot of vaccine hesitancy where they read a lot of stuff online and they have a lot of questions. I tell my patients the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, it’s harmless. It does not protect against severe disease that’s what vaccines should do, the vaccine won’t keep you from getting COVID-19, it’ll keep you from getting severe COVID-19,” Dr. Reymunde explained.

The new COVID-19 vaccine is not a booster, but rather an updated shot aimed to combat the current strain. So, who should get it?

“For babies, I do recommend it because they could get potentially sick more severely and end up in hospital versus an older kid. If the kids don’t have asthma and heart issues, don’t suffer from any chronic medical illness it should be a conversation to be had,” Dr. Reymunde continued.

Although PAK Pediatrics is not currently treating any patients with COVID-19, there are nearly 50 COVID-19 patients being treated at Geisinger.

According to Dr. Stanley Martin of Geisinger, those patients were not admitted with COVID-19 but rather tested positive for COVID-19 while being treated in the hospital for other conditions. Even so, Dr. Martin says COVID-19 cases are on an upward trajectory.

“One in six or seven getting treated for COVID. Now we’re starting to see that go back up again where it’s closer to one in four or five getting treated for COVID in our hospitals,” Dr. Martin said.

Dr Martin says since the population has some degree of immunity, Geisinger has not seen severe COVID-19 cases or even death, but older people, infants, and those with underlying risk factors should make vaccination a priority.

“The risk in children is smaller compared to adults. When we look at problems with COVID-19 it tends to be in the older adult population, people 60 or older, and the older you are the more likely it is, an 80-year-old’s risk is much higher than a 60-year-old’s, but other things can factor into that, having heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease,” said Dr. Martin.

People who have problems with their immune system, regardless of age, are going to be at risk for complications of COVID-19.

Below is a list of what you need to know about the new mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine.

  • Individuals five years or older, regardless of previous vaccination, are eligible to get one dose of the new COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Individuals up to four years old who have been previously vaccinated against COVID-19 are eligible to receive one or two doses.
  • Unvaccinated individuals six months to four years old should receive two to three doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine, depending on which manufacturer you choose.
  • COVID-19 Symptoms include congestion, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, fever, chills or cough.

The updated vaccines are expected to provide good protection against COVID from the current circulating strain.

Talk with your doctor regarding any questions or concerns or go online for additional information.