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Michigan doctor encourages public to get latest COVID-19 vaccine as fall approaches

Dr. James Grant of Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan says the new vaccine is designed to protect from the latest COVID-19 variant.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Americans will soon be able to get updated COVID-19 vaccines.

Tuesday afternoon, a Centers for Disease Control panel voted 13 to 1 to recommend a new booster for all Americans six months and older. Just Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved and authorized both Pfizer and Moderna's versions of the updated shot. 

"The risk of COVID-19 is not over, and we have to be pretty diligent about it," says Dr. James Grant, Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Those new vaccines could be available as soon as Wednesday, so why do we need a new one?

"We have to get not only our traditional flu shot, but we've got to get something for COVID now," says Dr. Grant.

Like the flu shot, the COVID vaccine is updated to combat different variants. This new shot is coming just in time, as the latest info from the CDC says COVID hospitalizations are up 19% in recent weeks.

"We're seeing a little more nausea and vomiting, we're seeing a little bit higher fevers," says Dr. Grant. "We're seeing what we call conjunctivitis and we're seeing sort of reddening and, you know, your tear ducts flowing."

Dr. Grant says it doesn't matter if you are up to date on your COVID boosters, you can still get this newest vaccine. He emphasizes, however, that while having the vaccine doesn't mean you're 100 percent protected, you will be better off.

"You shouldn't get it to the point you're in the hospital or on a ventilator. That's the key," says Dr. Grant. "Don't think, you know, 'Oh, I have friends that got the COVID vaccine and they still got COVID.' Because what did happen is the COVID that they got was far less severe than what they would've had if they didn't have the vaccine."

Dr. Grant says there will be plenty of vaccines available, so you won't have to wait to get one. You can ask your primary doctor about it or they will also be available at drug stores and pharmacies.

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