By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s public health officer is softening her stance on the value of the latest COVID-19 booster shots, urging residents to speak with their doctors before getting a second booster as recommended by federal health officials.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the second COVID booster for people 50 years and older and those with compromised immune systems.
Around 45% of the state is currently fully vaccinated against COVID, almost 264,000 residents. However, there have only been 112,324 booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine boosters given and health care providers have said that this third booster significantly decreases the chances of getting COVID or getting very sick from the virus if a person does catch it.
Since the vaccines were made available to the public last year, Dr. Alexia Harrist and the Health Department have strongly recommended Wyoming residents get vaccinated against COVID.
However, with the latest booster recommendation, Harrist is urging those eligible for the shot to discuss the issue with a doctor before getting one.
“Our recommendation is that if a person fits into these categories, they should talk with their health care provider about whether this second booster may make sense for them,” Harrist said. “We strongly recommend people get their first booster, but the second is more of an individual’s decision.”
While there is discussion about the second booster being available for everyone in the future, Harrist said there is not enough data to support that recommendation at this time.
When the first booster shots were made available, Harrist said data reviewed by the Wyoming Department of Health indicates the booster shots make the vaccines more effective at preventing severe illness from coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, Wyoming had 60 active COVID cases across the state.
Wyoming has been one of the lowest vaccinated states in the nation when it comes to COVID, something Harrist and the health department have been working to combat.
Those interested in obtaining the second booster should have no problem finding the vaccine, Harrist said.
“It should already be available in Wyoming,” she said. “Any location that has a supply of Pfizer or Moderna should be able to give the second booster as of now.”