State health officials urge COVID-19 booster and flu shots this fall
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - State health officials are encouraging Wisconsinites to get the flu shot and the new COVID-19 booster vaccine at the same time. This push comes as they say COVID cases have already increased among children since the school year began -- and these children are too young to get the updated booster themselves.
Health officials say Wisconsin has received 114,000 doses of the new, one-shot COVID-19 booster so far. Prevea Health, for one, expects to receive its supply from the state in the coming weeks.
This new booster targets the newest variants, BA.4 and BA.5, as well as the original coronavirus. These variants are responsible for nearly all COVID infections in the country now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.5 accounts for 90% of infections.
The new Pfizer booster is available for ages 12 and older. The Moderna booster is only for adults, 18 and up. They’re only available to people who completed their COVID-19 vaccine regimen.
These new boosters didn’t have a human testing trial, but health officials say they are very safe.
“This is a tweak; it is not a new vaccine,” Dr. Smriti Khare, executive vice president at Children’s Wisconsin, said, “so it’s sort of a little of a change in the antigen that is used.”
“We don’t yet have the clinical trials to say how much better they will be, but we hope that they will be a little bit better at least from a vaccine that was already extremely useful for preventing severe disease and death,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’s chief medical officer in the Bureau of Communicable Diseases.
You can find out which health care providers in your area are offering the new boosters at vaccines.gov.
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