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Friday, June 14, 2024

New COVID booster available and don’t forget the flu shot

By Veita Bland, M.D. / September 23, 2022

Get the new COVID bivalent booster and don’t forget about the flu shot. Be up to date on all your vaccinations and booster shots.

We are about to enter a very busy season of the year. The carefree days of summer are passing by. Hopefully most of us have had time to relax and reevaluate our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic, which may be in a new phase, is not over and thus we must continuously be vigilant about washing our hands, wearing masks in public and standing a distance (6ft.) away from others.

For some individuals the pandemic afforded a time to contemplate their life’s ambitions and their place in the world. Self-reflection with an emphasis on happiness or greater satisfaction in life has been a theme. For others, the grind of survival has continued.

For many communities of color, the pandemic has been devastating. There has been much loss of life followed by such untold amounts of grief. The sequela of long COVID-19 has been long with many people being affected and still being affected.

The disparities of health have not been eliminated. The unequal access to healthcare is still a major problem. The numbers of people not being able to afford their medications has not changed. The numbers of people with diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, lung disease, and obesity have not changed. These ailments predispose one to immune issues that are unfortunately more favorable to the infection with COVID-19.

Food insecurity is another huge problem that places one in jeopardy for poor health. If people are unable to fuel their bodies with nutritious foods, the body will be ill-equipped to support and protect itself from the viruses and germs present.

The northern hemisphere is on the verge of its winter season. It is a time when more inside living will occur. It is also a time when we typically see the easier spread of viruses and germs. The medical community’s “crystal ball” that peers into the future is still “in the shop for repair.” It had no way of knowing the devastating effects of COVID-19 last season and totally underestimated the carnage of the last three years. We have no way of knowing how bad this season can be.

There are ways we can protect ourselves and the time to do it is now. Look at your health status and the health status of those in your life. Would protecting yourself and them be of benefit? The flu vaccines and the new and improved COVID-19 vaccines are now available. Yes, even if you have had the original two COVID-19 vaccines and the two boosters you still need the new booster, which addresses the new omicron variants that have been highly contagious. And yes, you do need a flu vaccine each and every year. You can get the new COVID booster and the flu vaccine at your local pharmacy, health care provider’s office, the Health Department, vaccine clinics and other places.

These vaccinations need to be administered and then allowed time to work. Immunity is not immediate so now is the time to get them.

The COVID-19 vaccine is still free, your insurance will cover the flu vaccine and, in many cases, when given in clinics they are free. Please consider carefully. Enough tears have been shed due to COVID-19. Do your part and fight back. Get the vaccinations and the booster shots.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at


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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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