ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE)— The Allen County Department of Health provided vaccine information ahead of respiratory illness season at their board meeting on Monday.

Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Gutwein, wanted to provide some updated vaccine terminology as well as an RSV vaccine available to new groups.

According to Gutwein, COVID-19 vaccines that will be available this season are “updated” vaccines. They are no longer referred to as boosters because, in the future, they will most likely be updated yearly, similar to flu vaccines.

He also said the RSV treatments are now more available than ever before. Now, infants and toddlers, pregnant women, and those over the age of 60 can get protection.

The first RSV vaccine, AREXVY, was approved in May for those 60 years and older. Beyfortus, which is a monoclonal antibody, rather than a vaccine, was approved for use in babies and toddlers in July. Abrysvo was approved in August for expectant mothers who are 32 to 26 weeks pregnant and for those over the age of 60. 

According to Gutwein, those at high risk for respiratory illnesses should prioritize getting these vaccines. And right now is the perfect time to receive a flu shot, he said.

“The flu will move from Asia to Europe over to the eastern coast of the United States, and then to the Midwest,” Gutwein said. “So we haven’t even seen it move yet to Europe. So we know we have at least a six to eight-week window before we get it.”

The board also discussed amendments to a tattoo and body piercing ordinance. That amendment updates language in regulations to more current standards for those businesses across Allen County. It also would get rid of one of the fees that operators at Fort Wayne’s annual Tattoo Festival have had to pay in the past. These amendments now go to the county commissioners for final approval.