Elderly at a higher risk for COVID and the flu

Department of Public Health and Social Services

Public Health is further stressing the importance of vaccination – especially following the recent COVID spike.

Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Ann Pobutsky said that COVID cases increased by 20% during the holiday season.

Despite the numbers decreasing, Dr. Pobutsky says the elderly are still at risk, and that the flu is still going around.

“As of the 10th, we’ve had four deaths in 2023, COVID-related deaths. They’re all elderly or people with chronic conditions,” Dr. Pobutsky continues, “It’s people who are at risk are the elderly and those with chronic conditions. Get your vaccinations and get your boosters.”

This was touched upon during today’s Public Health meeting, where they also talked about vaccinations and vaccination sites.

Dr. Bob Leon Guerrero, Interim Chief Medical Officer says that there is a different vaccine for the elderly as their bodies respond to diseases differently than younger individuals.

The flu shot guarantees 75-85% immunity for younger individuals, but for the elderly, the most they can get is 50% immunity. There is a flu vaccine specifically for the elderly.

“It’s actually stronger than the regular vaccine, and again that plays on the role that as you age, your immune system needs more kick in the pants to get it moving,” says Dr. Leon Guerrero.

Dr. Leon Guerrero adds that everyone should get the flu and COVID vaccine every year, and adds that the elderly should request vaccines created specifically for them when they are at the doctor’s office.

Patrick Luces, COVID-19 Incident Commander also shares sites for those who are looking to get their boosters or vaccinations, “We will be at The Plaza down in Tumon until the end of the month. January 31st will be our last day there. And then on February 1st, we will be moving over to the Agana Shopping Center. We will be carrying the same hours. 9 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm.”

In addition to those dates, they will also be at:

CHamorro Village on Wednesdays, January 18 and 25, Hut #4 at 4-6 pm

Inarajan Mayor’s Office on January 12, 10 am-2 pm

Mangilao Community Center on January 20, 10-2 pm

Asan-Maina Community Center on January 27, 10 pm-2 pm

Barrigada Community Center on January 28, 10 am-2 pm

You may also schedule appointments at the Northern or Southern community health clinics. You can give the Northern clinic a call at 671-635-7400 and the southern clinic at 671-828-7604.

Contact Jannette Samson | E-mail: jannette@spbguam.com | Phone: 671-689-2842

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Jannette Samson is a broadcast reporter for the Pacific News Center. Her beats are lifestyle, tourism, and crime, among others. Aside from being a reporter, she is also PNC's social media and web editor. You can sometimes hear her reporting the latest headlines for you on Sorensen Media Group's radio stations and on K57. Some of Jannette's passions include art, beauty, and blogging. She paints, creates prints, and dabbles in various art media in her free time. Jannette is also a self-taught makeup artist. In addition to that, she is a visual artist. Her artwork was featured in many art exhibitions and galleries in Guam such as Imbentibu Famalao'an I at the Castro Art Gallery; Imbentibu Famalao'an II and Body Beautiful at the Lees-Reyes Art Gallery; the 2020 University of Guam Undergraduate Exhibition; and the Annual Research Conference Art Exhibition at the Isla Center for the Arts.