Omicron vaccine boosters are rolling out in Utah
Omicron vaccine booster shots are rolling out in pharmacies, doctor's offices and local health agencies throughout the state this week.
Driving the news: The FDA authorized retooled COVID-19 shots from Pfizer and Moderna last week to better protect against the contagious Omicron subvariant BA.5.
Why it matters: Studies have shown that receiving a vaccine or booster dramatically reduces the risk of hospitalization or death if infected with the virus.
Details: People ages 12 or older are eligible to receive the updated Pfizer booster if it's been two months since they completed their two-dose COVID-19 series, according to the FDA.
- The Moderna booster is available to individuals 18 years or older, who received their vaccine at least two months ago.
- The shots, known as "bivalent" vaccines, contain two mRNA components of the virus: the original strain and the Omicron subvariant.
Between the lines: Health officials are encouraging Americans to roll up their sleeves for the upgraded booster, especially as cooler weather approaches.
What to expect: Common booster side effects could include swelling at the injection area or a slight fever, according to Rich Lakin, immunization director for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
- Of note: Your updated booster does not need to match the manufacturer of previous vaccinations.
What they're saying: "We're anticipating during the wintertime that cases are going to increase significantly," Lakin said.
By the numbers: About 63% of Utahns are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, per the state health department — lower than the national average (67.5%).
Yes, but: Less than a third of state residents have received a booster.
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