Wisconsin is now offering COVID-19 booster shots. The state is currently at a high-level of disease transmission and the Department of Health Services (DHS) continues to urge everyone who is not vaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and for all people to add additional layers of protection including masking up indoors, staying home when feeling sick, avoiding large indoor gatherings and receiving a booster shot if eligible.
Here are 5 things you should know about the booster:
1. Who is eligible?
The Wisconsin DHS supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization and the Centers for Disease Controls recommendation to provide a Pfizer booster dose to certain populations who have received their first two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“The DHS recommends that the following populations SHOULD receive a booster dose… in order to further strengthen their immunity:”
People 65 years and older
All residents in long-term care
People ages 50–64 years with certain underlying medical conditions
The following “MAY receive the booster dose… after considering their individual risks and benefits:”
People ages 18-49 years old with certain underlying medical conditions
People ages 18-64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their job or institutional settings, including front line essential workers and health care workers.
2. When can I get it?
If you are eligible for the third series shot, you can receive it at least six months after having been administered the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. “At this time, the Pfizer booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was the Pfizer vaccine,” the DHS says. “People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely need a booster shot in the near future. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots are expected soon.”
3. Why should I get it?
Booster doses are intended to help people who are vaccinated maintain the highest possible level of immune system protection for as long as possible,” Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said in a DHS release. “It’s important to remember that all the authorized COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection after the primary series. Getting every eligible person vaccinated continues to be our most important strategy for preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”
4. What’s the difference between an "additional” shot and the “booster” shot?
“A booster dose serves a different purpose than the additional dose recommended in early August for certain immunocompromised people,” the DHS says.
These shots are recommended for people with certain medical conditions or who are receiving certain treatments leaving them moderately or severely immunocompromised. They may not have built a strong enough immune response after their initial vaccine.
“This shot refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after their initial vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time – also referred to as waning immunity,” the DHS says. “Evidence suggests that immunity is waning over time for some people who were initially well-protected by the vaccine. For those people, a booster dose will strengthen and extend their protection against infection, serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”
5. Where can I get it?
Anywhere that is offering the Pfizer vaccine should be able to provide a booster shot, as the third dose is identical to the first two. Here are a few options:
Family Fresh Market
Family Fresh Market
Westfields Hospital and Clinic
St. Croix County Health and Human Services
Find more locations at vaccines.gov.