The new COVID Vaccine (2023-2024 Formula) was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control on September 12th. Everyone ages 6 months and older is advised to get a dose at least one dose of the new vaccine. Young children and those with weakened immune systems may need more than one dose.

  • Around half of all U.S. adults intend to get the new COVID vaccine this fall, according to a survey out last week from KFF, including two-thirds of seniors. That's much higher than the uptake for last year's bivalent boosters – fewer than 1 in 5 adults received last year’s bivalent vaccine.
  • COVID vaccines are available at no out-of-pocket cost. Since the government is no longer giving the shots away for free to everyone, most people need to use their health insurance to pay for them. The federal government is making the vaccines free for the uninsured and underinsured, via a temporary program called Bridge Access. Check vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233 for COVID vaccine locations near you.

Statewide, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased slightly in the state of Ohio. Locally, Montgomery County has had 121 individuals hospitalized with COVID in September. This is higher than we had seen in June, July, and August. In the month of September, we saw an increase in COVID cases in our congregate care settings, primarily our long-term care facilities.

Flu Vaccine (2023-2024 Formula)

Flu vaccines are available now and are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older. It should be easy to find a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are produced and distributed by private manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply the United States with as many as 170 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2023-2024 flu season, similar to what was distributed last year. More than half of this year’s doses have been distributed so far. It should be easy to find a flu vaccine, and now is the best time to get your flu vaccine.

While we are currently seeing minimal flu activity in Ohio. It’s recommended that to get a flu vaccine by the end of October and BEFORE flu starts spreading in your community, although vaccination later in the season can still be beneficial. The flu vaccine will not be 100% effective to prevent flu illness in all people, however, the flu vaccine can reduce symptoms of the flu from WILD to mild. Flu vaccines help prevent severe disease, hospitalizations, and death in all age groups. Aside from COVID-19, flu is the deadliest vaccine-preventable disease in the U.S. Last flu season, 176 children died from influenza in the US. Flu vaccines are part of the recommended vaccination schedule and can be given alongside other routine vaccinations.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Each year, about 1000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in Montgomery County. For nearly four decades, October has been recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness month to highlight the importance of early detection and timely access to high-quality care.

A lot has happened with breast cancer over the last four decades…

The rate of new cases of invasive breast cancer has been increasing over the last two decades, likely due at least in part to increased average body weight (over 40% of adults are now obese) and reproductive trends (women having fewer children and a later age at first birth).

The breast cancer death rate among females peaked in 1989 and has since declined by 43% as of 2020, mainly because of earlier detection through screening mammography, as well as increased breast cancer awareness and improved treatment. The five-year survival rate is now 91% for women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Unfortunately, there are disparities in death rates that persist- the breast cancer survival rate is 9% lower for Black women than for White women.

Getting screening mammograms. Screening mammograms save lives. Cancers that are found through regular screenings (before a person has any symptoms) are more likely to be small and not to have spread to other areas of the body. Finding cancer early makes it easier to treat and cure. There has been an increase in breast cancer diagnosis among younger women, and the US Preventative Service Task Force now recommends all women get screened starting at age 40.

There are active steps all individuals can take to lower the risk of breast cancer including:

  1. Breastfeeding for at least one year
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight
  3. Limiting alcohol consumption
  4. Staying physically active
  5. Talk to your doctor about your family history of cancer and if genetic testing is right for you.
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