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Variant specific COVID-19 vaccines may soon be available in Washington

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Courtesy of the Federal Food and Drug Administration
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A new version of the COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available in Washington.

Lacey Fehrenbach, the Washington State Department of Health’s deputy secretary for prevention, says the first order of vaccines will be available to those most at risk of COVID-19. The state has requested 192,000 doses.

“We are planning for the release of a bivalent booster in the fall that includes protection from the omicron variants and we expect that to be available shortly after Labor Day,” she said. “However, we’re still awaiting FDC authorization and the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices for that bivalent vaccine.”

In North Idaho, the Panhandle Health District Director Don Duffy says if the district receives a shipment of the new vaccine, it will make it available.

“If we saw a huge rush on it, we would go back to what we did in the original vaccine administration back when we had the initial variant, and we would open up clinics in other areas that would be strategic for our community. But right now, we’re planning to do those in our offices.”

As for monkeypox vaccines, Duffy says there hasn’t been much demand in North Idaho. He says the district has done four tests, all negative, and give three monkeypox vaccines.