DC Health promotes the newest COVID booster — and a flu shot while you’re at it

DC Health has made the newest COVID-19 booster available to city residents, offering it to anyone who wants it at the COVID Centers set up in all eight wards of the District.

Dr. Thomas Farley, the senior deputy director for the community health administration at DC Health, encouraged city residents to get one as soon as possible.

“Just as our computer software has to be updated periodically to protect against the threats from ever-changing computer viruses, our body’s system immune system needs to be updated periodically to protect against the threats of changing human viruses,” said Farley.

Most people got the original two-dose vaccine when it came out, but Farley pointed out that they were aimed at protecting people against the original strain of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve seen waves of delta and omicron strains infect people around the country. The newest booster is bivalent, meaning it provides protection against the original virus and the omicron variant.

Farley called the new booster “the biggest advance in the fight against COVID since the original vaccine came out in December of 2020.” It’s an updated version of a safe, tried and true vaccine.

“Now we actually have a vaccine that matches perfectly strains that are circulating today,” he added.

In addition to the eight city COVID centers, you can find shots at major pharmacies around the region that have partnered with the federal government. Residents in Maryland and Virginia can get the new vaccines by making an appointment with their county health office. In Maryland, some doctors’ offices have them too.

While COVID rates around D.C. are currently on the decline, the most common strain circulating is the BA.5 subvariant of omicron. Even if you’re among those who have gotten infected recently, Farley encourages you to get a booster.

“The vaccine provides better protection than natural infection,” said Farley. “Natural infection does boost your immune system, but it’s better to get that vaccine.”

While you’re getting the new booster, Farley said, you should also get a flu shot.

“It is absolutely safe to get the flu vaccine and the COVID booster as the same time,” he stressed.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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