December 3, 2023

Omicron Booster

The FDA authorized Pfizer and Moderna for a new bivalent COVID-19 booster. Starting this month, Pfizer and Moderna announced they will release an updated COVID-19 vaccine that will include the Omicron variant. The Pfizer vaccine is available to anyone 12 or older. The Moderna vaccine is available to anyone 18 or older. This booster is different from past boosters as it includes mRNA from an original strain of SARS-CoV-2 as well as mRNA specific to the Omicron variant. This provides a broad protection from COVID-19 as well as targeted protection from Omicron. Individuals who receive the Omicron vaccine should be prepared for side effects similar to those of the original COVID vaccine.

Monkeypox

There have been over 4,450 cases of monkeypox (MPX) in the state of California with 234 cases in Riverside County as of Sept. 13. A less severe form of smallpox, MPX is transmitted through direct contact with an individual infected with the monkeypox virus. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, all reported cases were located in Africa or linked to international travel. As of Sept. 12, there has only been one confirmed monkeypox death in the U.S., according to the CDC. Symptoms of monkeypox could include exhaustion, muscle aches, headaches and respiratory symptoms. If you experience these or other flu-related symptoms accompanied by a rash, you should get tested for monkeypox. Once the rash develops, it will last roughly 2-4 weeks.

New Malaria Vaccine

A new malaria vaccine is expected to appear next year after experimental trials showed an 80% success rate according to the World Health Organization. Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes which has made the disease uniquely challenging to immunize against. When left untreated, malaria often leads to severe complications or death. According to the BBC, over 409,000 people die from malaria each year, with a majority being infants and children. Scientists at the University of Oxford have called this new vaccine “world-changing.”



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