Wisconsinites ages 5 and older are now eligible for updated COVID-19 boosters

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is urging Wisconsin residents to get an updated COVID-19 booster shot and their annual flu shot ahead of the upcoming holiday season. People can safely get their COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines at the same time, including the annual flu vaccine. Anyone aged 5+ is now eligible for an updated COVID-19 booster.

This expanded eligibility for the updated COVID-19 boosters follows approval 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 boosters were recommended for people 12 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 continue to make appointments available once their booster doses arrive. Parents and guardians are encouraged to check with their primary care physician, local or tribal health department or clinics, or visit vaccinate.gov to find immunization centers near you.

“Fall is here and the holiday season will soon be here, and that means more of us will be gathering indoors in homes and other spaces in closer contact with others. We encourage all Wisconsinits to make plans to improve their own protection and that of their loved ones from COVID-19,” said DHS Secretary-elect Karen Timberlake. “Anyone aged 5+ is now eligible for the updated boosters. This means that nearly all school-age children, adolescents and adults can boost their body’s defenses against COVID-19 to help prevent the most severe symptoms of COVID-19 and reduce its spread.”

The updated COVID-19 Boosters target the original COVID-19 strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. The highly contagious subvariant BA.5 Omicron accounts for approximately 90% of cases nationwide.

The updated booster shots are recommended as a single 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 past two months. Individuals 5 years and older are eligible to receive the updated Pfizer COVID-19 Booster and individuals 6 years and older are eligible to receive the updated Moderna COVID-19 Booster. For all ages, these updated boosters replace the original boosters. Pfizer and Moderna’s updated boosters can be administered after any primary series, including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Novavax.

“Staying current with COVID-19 vaccines can protect children from the serious consequences of COVID-19, such as MIS-C, prolonged COVID, hospitalization and death,” said Stephanie Schauer, Ph.D., DHS Division of Public Health Head of Vaccination Program. “Now that everyone aged 5+ is eligible for updated boosters, it means even more people can have their protection restored from the virus and get broader protection from newer variants.”

Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) is a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 that can lead to inflammation of the heart, lungs, brain and other organs. DHS data shows that 200 cases of MIS-C and one MIS-C-related death were reported in Wisconsin. For the best protection from MIS-C, children should be kept up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.

Everyone from the age of 6 months is recommended to be vaccinated for basic immunization to protect against COVID-19. If you haven’t received your first batch of COVID-19 vaccines yet, it’s never too late to get vaccinated. Keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations by getting vaccinated and boosted when needed is especially important for people aged 50 and over and those with an immune deficiency.

The COVID-19 vaccine is still available at no cost. Anyone can make an appointment for vaccination. Vaccination centers throughout 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 assistance locating health care and community resources in your area, call 211. For information, resources, and data on Wisconsin’s COVID-19 immunization program in Wisconsin, visit the DHS COVID-19: Vaccine website. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.

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