Yale doctor urges getting COVID bivalent vaccine as hospitalizations surge

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hospitalizations are up in Connecticut with a mix of respiratory viruses, and COVID-19 cases jumping through December.

Hospitalizations have jumped from 446 on Nov. 24 to 828 on Thursday. The majority of those cases are in those 70 or older.

“The good news is that they do not appear to be as sick because many of them were vaccinated relatively recently so maybe they’re enjoying some of the benefits of their vaccines including the more recent bivalent boosters,” Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu with Yale medicine said.

The newest and most contagious COOVID-19 variant is XBB.1.5, and while it’s more contagious, the bivalent booster appears to offer protection against it.

Ogbuagu said timing is important to be protected fort he post-holiday COVID-19 wave.

“You really have your best protection close to in the immediate period after you’ve received the vaccination so that really keeping on the timeliness of boosters it’s really, really important,” Ogbuagu said.

Ogbuagu is disappointed that the bivalent vaccination rate is not higher, because the more COVID-19 circulates, the better chance of a newer more dangerous variant emerging.

Even though hospitals are bustling with cases of illnesses, Ogbuagu said this season is better than the last.

“Clearly COVID-19 is exacting much less morbidity and mortality among our patients,” he said, crediting early treatments that doctors now have at their ready including IVs and oral therapies.

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