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State Health Officials Approve Vaccine Boosters for 16 and 17-Year-Olds

Saturday, December 11th, 2021 -- 10:00 AM

(WMTV) State health officials have signed off on distributing a version of the COVID-19 vaccine boosters to 16 and 17-year-olds in the state.

The move comes a day after federal regulators gave their nod. Dept. of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake described the latest approval as another opportunity for even more of the state’s residents to protect themselves from the virus.

She called the boosters “an important tool” for slowing the spread of COVID-19, adding that “being fully vaccinated and getting a booster dose is the best protection for preventing the worst outcomes from COVID-19.”

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults receive a booster shot at least six months after getting their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months after getting the Johnson & Johnson version.

The Pfizer vaccine booster is the only one available for the newly eligible 16 and 17-year-olds. As of Thursday, DHS was reporting that just over half of the state’s residents in that age group (51.2%) have completed their vaccine series.

Both the DHS and CDC are urging anyone who is eligible to get the booster get one so as soon as possible, calling it the best way to protect against any variant of COVID-19.

Earlier in the week, state officials noted the Delta variant still dominates among Wisconsin cases of coronavirus, but they also acknowledged that the highly-contagious Omicron variety has already arrived here.

“We must prevent further strain on Wisconsin’s health care system and long-term care providers,” DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said as hospitals across the state are running out of available bedspace.

“The longer there are large populations of people who are unvaccinated, the greater the risk that people who need care will not be able to get it.” DHS recommends anyone looking for a vaccine provider go to vaccines.gov, call 211, or call 877-947-2211.

More information about booster doses, as well as help accessing vaccine records for those unsure of when their last dose was, is available on the DHS Additional Doses and Booster Doses webpage.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.