MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is urging Wisconsinites to make a plan to get boosted against COVID-19. People 12 and older are now eligible to receive updated COVID-19 boosters (also known as bivalent boosters). Doses of the updated COVID-19 boosters have started arriving in Wisconsin and will continue to be delivered to providers over the next several weeks. Pharmacies, health centers, and clinics are expected to make appointments available as their booster doses arrive.
“As we head into the fall and winter respiratory virus season, we encourage all Wisconsinites to make a plan to boost their protection against COVID-19,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Everyone 12 and older is eligible for the added protection of the updated boosters. This is especially important for people 50 and older and those who are immunocompromised.”
The updated boosters have been authorized by the FDA and recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are the first Omicron-specific vaccines to be made available in the United States. They target the original strain of COVID-19, as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. The highly contagious BA.5 Omicron subvariant is the dominant strain of COVID-19, making up about 90% of cases nationally.
The updated boosters are recommended as a single (1) dose for people 12 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 12 and older are eligible to receive the updated Pfizer COVID-19 booster, and those 18 and older are eligible to receive the updated Moderna COVID-19 booster. In these age groups, these boosters replace the original boosters. The Pfizer and Moderna updated boosters can be administered after any primary series, including Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, or Novavax.
Children ages 5-11 continue to be eligible for the original COVID-19 booster, which provides protection against the original strain of COVID-19. It is anticipated that this age group will be eligible for updated boosters in the coming months.
Everyone 6 months and older is recommended to get vaccinated to protect against COVID-19. If you have not yet received your primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, it is never too late to get vaccinated.
“Getting vaccinated and staying up to date on COVID-19 boosters remains the best way to protect against severe illness from COVID-19,” said Stephanie Schauer, Ph.D., DHS Division of Public Health Immunization Program Manager. “COVID-19 vaccines continue to show that they are effective at reducing severe symptoms that can result in hospitalization and death. The updated boosters can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination or infection, and provide broader protection against newer variants.”
People can safely get their COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines at the same time, including the annual flu vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines remain available to all Wisconsinites at no cost regardless of immigration or health insurance status. Anyone can schedule an appointment for the vaccine using a variety of options, including with their health care provider, at community-based vaccination clinics, local and tribal health departments, or pharmacies. 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. Follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information about COVID-19.