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Northeast Wisconsin providers prepare to administer 2nd Covid booster shot with FDA's authorization

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 23:27:16-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Some Northeast Wisconsinites who received a Covid booster shot are now eligible for another.

"We're seeing the emergent BA.2, a version of omicron the variant, that is causing concern around the world and here in the United States," Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai said. "We're seeing its uptick."

So on Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a second Pfizer or Moderna booster vaccine for people ages 50 and older, as well as those who are immunocompromised. The FDA says this comes as protection from the first booster wanes while officials express concern over a spreading subvariant.

"We are looking like we could get more cases," Rai said. "We don't know the extent of that, but try to truly prevent a hospital surge."

The FDA mentions people are eligible four months after their last additional dose. But according to the Department of Health Services, that applies to less than 34 percent of Wisconsin residents.

"The volume of the first booster wasn't where we wanted it to be considering how many people were vaccinated in the end," Rai said.

Still, the seven-day average of cases sits around this year's low.

"As far as hospitalizations go, they're very low," Rai said. "But we're still seeing Covid every day, but not to the extent that we were."

The FDA says it's possible Americans will need another booster in the fall, potentially tailored towards the delta or omicron variant.

"We may need to shift over to a different variant coverage," FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks said at aTuesday press conference.

The CDC announcedproviders should make the latest doses available immediately.

Prevea Health says those appointments can be made as soon as Thursday.

"I think the FDA's tunnel vision intent here is to look at hospitalizations and try to get up to a point where hospitals are not being overwhelmed," Rai said.

Just 37 percent of Wisconsinites ages 45 to 54 have received an additional dose. But over 45 percent of residents aged 55 to 64 got a shot. And almost 67 percent of the population of people over 65 years old opted for a booster.