UVM Health Network Experts List Steps to Protect Against a COVID Surge This Summer and Fall
Vaccinating Children Now, Getting Tested Early Among Most Important Recommendations
Burlington, VT – As COVID-19 cases see a summer uptick across the country, the University of Vermont Health Network is urging everyone to continue following mitigation efforts to help keep our family, friends and neighbors safe and healthy. Parents should also consider vaccinating children now, before school resumes, to ensure protection.
In Vermont and northern New York, COVID case rates remain relatively low despite the increased transmissibility of the BA.5 variant, but experts say people can still take specific actions to protect against a surge in COVID cases.
"The trick is not to think COVID is over, or the sky is falling, but to pick the right time to intensify precautions. In Vermont that isn’t immediately, but there are some ways to get ready like vaccination for children and boosters for those 50 and older," said Tim Lahey, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Dr. Lahey said Vermont and northern New York, like other regions, may still see increases in COVID-19 cases. For many people, COVID-19 leads to an inconvenient and uncomfortable illness, but is not life-threatening. However, vaccination and masking during high transmission times are proven ways to protect vulnerable community members who still do end up in the hospital with COVID-19.
To help ensure that the number of serious cases of COVID-19 remains manageable, Lahey said people should take specific actions, including:
- Be ready to mask in crowded indoor spaces if community transmission levels rise.
- Understand that different people will take different precautions in response to different risks.
- Those 50 and older should receive a second booster shot if they haven't already.
- Eligible children should be vaccinated to protect them from rare severe disease.
- If you develop symptoms, and especially if you are at high risk, it is important to get tested so a doctor knows if you should use Paxlovid or other available treatments that are effective at preventing hospitalization and death.
The UVM Health Network encourages everyone over the age of 6 months to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Vermont pediatricians and family physicians recommend that all children over the age of 6 months get the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of underlying health status or prior COVID-19 infection,” said Rebecca Bell, MD, a pediatric critical care specialist at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. “Now is a great time to ensure your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations. The COVID-19 vaccine can be administered at the same time as other childhood immunizations.”
We know that vaccination is the best weapon we have to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and help keep our friends and neighbors safe. The COVID-19 vaccines are rigorously tested before being released for public use.
We are proud to be working with local partners to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine across Vermont and New York. All adults and children age 5+ should be up to date according to the CDC guidance, including recommended boosters. Learn more about what being up to date means for you and your family here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
COVID-19 vaccines are now available through many primary care offices. You can also find a COVID-19 vaccine near you by searching on vaccines.gov.
The UVM Health Network will also continue to share information regarding Monkeypox/hMPXV in the coming weeks. For more information, visit: healthvermont.gov/hMPXV
About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. The partners are:
- The University of Vermont Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Porter Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Home Health & Hospice
Our 15,000 employees are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our affiliates remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.