Wisconsin health leaders urge public to get updated COVID-19 booster

NOW: Wisconsin health leaders urge public to get updated COVID-19 booster

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Department of Health Services leaders, doctors and pharmacists across the state encouraged people to get the latest booster to fight strains of coronavirus ahead of a third Covid winter.

"As the weather cools down and we make plans to spend more time indoors, we encourage everyone who's eligible to make a plan to get their COVID-19 booster this fall," DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said during a media briefing Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The newest reinforcement is called a bivalent booster because it targets both the B.A.4 and B.A.5 omicron variants.

The Moderna version of the updated booster is approved for people 18 and older while the Pfizer version is approved for people 12 years old and older.

Hayat Pharmacy received its first shipment of the updated booster this week.

"We are all set, ready to go to offer the patients vaccine like we have been doing for the last two years," Dimmy Sokhal, the director of clinical services at Hayat Pharmacy, told CBS 58.

The pharmacy has already been administering the new booster to patients.

Simply put, if you're 12 or over and it's been two months since your last COVID-19 shot, you're eligible for this latest one, which Sokhal said will create an important layer of protection for fall and winter.

"During the flu season and the next few months to come, omicron is probably going to be one of the strains that is present and that's going to give you a better cover," Sokhal explained. "So that's why even though you are fully vaccinated, this just gives you extra coverage and protection against the omicron."

Other doctors said while it may be difficult to predict if and when the next COVID-19 spike will arrive, now is the best time to get the latest booster.

"Right now happens to be a pretty good time," Dr. Dan Shirley told CBS 58. Shirley is the medical director for infection prevention at UW Health. "There's no exact timing, you know, trying to anticipate risk factors of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's pretty good right now because school is starting, the risk is just going up by the week."

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