Thousands in Wisconsin are now eligible for COVID-19 booster

NOW: Thousands in Wisconsin are now eligible for COVID-19 booster

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- If you got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, you may be eligible for a booster shot, and the city of Milwaukee says they are ready to administer the shots.

In Milwaukee County there is an average of 341 new cases per day, and three deaths per day, and the area is still a high transmission area for the virus. Officials say it's vital for people to get vaccinated, and now thousands of Wisconsinites are also eligible to get a vaccine booster shot.

On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced who is eligible for a COVID 19 booster. Those people must have received Pfizer at least six months ago and fall into one of these categories: anyone 65 years or older, anyone with underlying conditions, those in long-term facilities and anyone in higher risk occupational settings. 

"Why do we need boosters and why those groups? The data we're seeing on Pfizer suggests that even after six months there's still excellent protection against hospitalization and death," said Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County. "However the protection against infection, breakthrough infection, particularly in older and sicker populations, seems to wane a bit over time."

Mayor Tom Barrett says the city is ready to get those shots in arms.

"The city has the capacity at its existing sites to administer these shots, and we will increase staffing and resourcing as needed," Mayor Barrett said.

Dr. Ben Weston says just because a six-month booster is needed, doesn't mean we'll need shots every six months moving forward.

"Giving a reminder to our immune system six months out will likely have much longer durability than the initial reminder from that second dose," Dr. Weston said.

Still, Dr. Weston says boosters aren't the key to getting out of the pandemic, he says first and foremost people need to get their initial vaccination series.

As for testing, the American Family Field site is now shut down as the Brewers prepare for the playoffs. The mayor says they are finalizing a contract with another location and will announce it soon.

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