MADISON — Nearly everyone age 6 months and older is now eligible for an updated COVID-19 vaccination, except for children 6 months through 4 years of age who have already completed the original (also known as monovalent) three-dose Pfizer primary series. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is urging Wisconsinites to get an updated (also known as bivalent) COVID-19 vaccination and their annual flu shot before the holidays. People can safely get their COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines at the same time, including the annual flu vaccine.
This expanded eligibility for the updated COVID-19 vaccine follows authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Previously, the updated COVID-19 vaccine was recommended for those 5 and older.
Doses of the updated COVID-19 boosters for the newly eligible age groups are expected to arrive in Wisconsin over the next few weeks. Pharmacies, health centers, and clinics are continuing to make appointments available as their updated COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive. Parents and guardians are encouraged to check with their primary care provider, local or tribal health department or clinic, or visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites near them.
“The holidays will be here very soon, and the cold weather is bringing an uptick in COVID-19 cases as more of us are gathering in group settings and enclosed spaces. We encourage all Wisconsinites to make plans as soon as possible to get an updated COVID-19 vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Nearly everyone 6 months and older is now eligible to receive the updated vaccine. This means grandkids to grandparents can boost their defenses against the most severe impacts of COVID-19 and reduce spreading the virus to others.”
Previously, the updated vaccine was recommended as a single booster dose for people 5 years and older who have received their primary COVID-19 vaccine series and have not received a COVID-19 vaccine dose in the last two months. People 5 and older are eligible to receive the updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a booster, and those 6 and older are eligible to receive the updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as a booster.
With the recent actions taken by the FDA and the CDC, the updated vaccine is now also recommended for most of the youngest children. Children 6 months through 4 years of age are now eligible to receive the updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (if they have not already completed the original three-dose Pfizer primary series), and children 6 months through 5 years of age are now eligible to receive the updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
For the updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, children 6 months through 4 years of age who have begun their original primary Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series are eligible to receive a third dose of the updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after their second dose to complete their primary series.
Children 6 months through 4 years of age who received three doses of the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary series are not eligible at this time to receive an updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose. This is being evaluated by the FDA and more information will be available on it in early 2023.
For the updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, children 6 months through 5 years of age who received two doses of the original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary series are eligible to receive an updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least two months after the completion of their Moderna primary series.
All Wisconsinites ages 6 months and older can get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time. If you have not yet received your primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, it is never too late to get vaccinated. The update COVID-19 vaccine provides increased protection against Omicron variants, which cause most of the current COVID-19 cases.
Data from the updated DHS COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard show less than 17% of Wisconsinites have gotten their updated COVID-19 vaccine. It is especially important for older people, people with chronic health conditions, people who are pregnant, and young children to get vaccinated to prevent severe disease. For more information about current guidance on COVID-19 vaccination for children, visit the DHS website.
COVID-19 vaccination is still available with no out-of-pocket costs. Anyone can schedule an appointment for the vaccine. Vaccination sites across Wisconsin may choose to provide vaccines to specific age groups. People are encouraged to check with their local health clinics or visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites for specific age groups.
For free, confidential support finding health care and community resources near you, dial 211. For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage.