New COVID variant can cause summer surge

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There is a new variant of COVID called Kraken that is now spreading through the population. Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the variant, how we treat COVID now that it is considered an endemic and the summer surge we will see.

Humble also focused on the fall vaccine season which includes COVID, flu, RSV and even things like pneumonia for seniors, along with their updated vaccines, who should get them and when.

“There’s going to be a new influenza shot to target what was circulating in the southern hemisphere recently. CDC is recommending people wait until September or October before getting it,” said Humble.

For the flu season, Humble also recommended waiting until later in the fall to get a flu shot to best ensure coverage for the entire flu season. Humble did note however that last year’s flu season hit earlier than typically expected, which is around January through March.

As for updates to the COVID vaccine, Humble noted the number of COVID cases are down in Arizona at the moment, but the FDA is pushing a new COVID vaccine meant to fight the XBB 1.5 “Kraken” variant of COVID-19.

The last note Humble touched on is the birth control pills now accessible without a prescription in Arizona.

“Women who want to get the oral birth contraceptives can go to a pharmacy. They’ll have to fill out a short questionnaire that the pharmacist will look at, and then make a decision about filling that prescription from a standing order from the State Health Department, so it’s not totally unregulated,” said Humble.

Humble believes the benefits of allowing women access to birth control without a prescription outweigh any possible risks that may come about, though he does note women should continue to visit their health care providers regularly.

Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association

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