Ohio urges COVID-19 bivalent booster shots as new variants appear

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Two new variants of COVID-19 have emerged and the Ohio Department of Health is urging people to get booster shots to prepare for their arrival.

“As we head into the colder months, we could see them driving another wave,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the health department, in a Thursday news conference.

One variant, XBB, was first detected in Asia recently. Another variant, BQ, is already in the U.S. BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, the newest strains, have gained the attention of top health experts due to their rate of increase since first identified in early September.

Neither variant is present in Ohio yet, according to the latest state data.

Move aside, BA.5:These new COVID variants are gaining ground in the US

Both variants seem to be the most effective so far in terms of evading vaccine-induced and natural immunity. Some therapeutic treatments could be rendered ineffective, said Steven Gordon, chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Department of Infectious Diseases.

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