Atrium recommends new COVID-19 vaccine as hospital admissions rise

CHARLOTTE — As temperatures drop in the fall and winter, the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 rises.

Medical professionals at Atrium Health in Charlotte hosted a press conference on Wednesday to share information about the most recent vaccine.

According to Mecklenburg County’s official website, COVID-19 patient hospital admissions are low, and variants similar to the Omicron XBB made up 100% of the sample.

Across the border in the Palmetto State, counties like Lancaster, York, and Chester are seeing low levels of COVID-19 hospital admissions. In Lancaster, they have had a total of 12 admissions; in York, there were 13, and in Chester, there were also only 13 admissions, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

South Carolina’s Chesterfield County is currently at a medium level of hospital admissions; so far this week, its hospitals have seen 35 COVID-19 patients, which is a 66.7% increase from the prior week.

Not only are hospitals noticing the spike, but pharmacies as well.

Across our area, pharmacies are reporting an increase in people needing help with respiratory issues, and asking when they should be vaccinated for respiratory viruses, like COVID-19.

“We’ve had many people over the last couple of weeks calling asking about COVID and RSV and when to take them,” Dylan Thomas, pharmacy manager, told Channel 9 South Carolina reporter Tina Terry.

Dr. Katie Passaretti with Atrium Health noted the change in strains for both COVID-19 and the flu. She said the best thing people can do that are six months or older is to take the ‘new’ vaccine during this year’s virus season.

“Different strains of flu and different strains and variants or strains of COVID-19 circulate and change, so the newer vaccine has an updated protection against the more recent variant to provide better protection,” Passaretti said during Wednesday’s conference.

Passaretti says while COVID-19 hospitalizations are down, cases among our general community are up. People should continue to take the virus seriously. She also recommends the vaccine to anyone six months or older or at higher risk for COVID complications.

“It’s very important for individuals who are over 65 or have multiple medical problems to really talk to their doctor,” Passaretti said.

As doctors urge their patients to take the new vaccine, pharmacies in our area are preparing for incoming shipments of the new vaccine.

“We just have to see when we can get it through our wholesaler that we normally get them from,” Thomas said.

(WATCH BELOW: COVID vaccines offered in Avery County before start of summer tourism)

Comments on this article