MILWAUKEE — The triple threat of respiratory illnesses like the flu, RSV, and COVID-19 can spread very quickly in common spaces.
The Centers for Disease Control's approval of a tweaked COVID-19 vaccine hopes to change that.
“The virus is always changing its shape a little bit and our immune system needs to be retrained to recognize the new shape,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer, Bureau of Communicable Diseases - WI DHS.
Leaders with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services say the timeline of getting them into the arms of Americans could be as soon as the next few weeks.
“Some of the larger pharmacy chains have been pre-ordering the vaccine in anticipation of this recommendation being given the green light and within the coming days and weeks, other pharmacies and health care organizations will be ordering, obtaining, and having them,” said Dr. Westergaard.
On top of getting the new COVID-19 booster, the DHS recommends that everyone 6 months or older get a flu shot.
When it comes to RSV, they say babies younger than 18 months and people over the age of 60 should talk to their doctor to see if they should get a vaccine or antibody treatment.
“Being vaccinated is the single biggest thing that you can do to protect yourself from getting very sick or requiring admission to the hospital,” said Dr. Westergaard.
DHS says it is working to make sure every Wisconsinite has access to these vaccines.
“People still will not have to pay out of pocket for vaccines but the process is different,” said Dr. Westergaard.
He recommends making a plan to find a clinic or pharmacy that takes your insurance.
If you don't have coverage, the CDC offers free vaccines for children and adults through a federally funded program.
You can find that information by clicking here.