More COVID-19 boosters coming to Utah | News, Sports, Jobs

Tim Vandenack, Standard Examiner

Claire Quick preps Drew Johnson, left, before giving him a COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic at Highland Junior High School in Ogden on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Behind them are health care workers Adrian Wilson, in blue, and Sameka Howard, in pink.

More than 100,000 doses of the latest COVID-19 booster vaccine will be available in Utah within days, state officials said Friday.

The updated boosters will target the original strain of the virus, as well as two Omicron variants known as BA.4 and BA.5.

“We encourage all Utahns to stay up to date on their immunizations,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. “As fall approaches, it’s important that you have as much protection from vaccine-preventable illnesses like flu and COVID-19 as possible.”

Nolen said data from the southern hemisphere suggests influenza may hit hard this winter at the same time as COVID-19 transmission is expected to increase.

“The updated COVID-19 vaccine can help protect us all,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations for the bivalent vaccines earlier this week. Children ages 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster if it has been at least two months since the primary series or a booster dose has been completed. Those ages 18 and older can get the Moderna vaccine if they have completed their primary series or received a booster dose. It’s also perfectly fine to get a Moderna vaccine if you previously received the Pfizer vaccine or vice versa.

The current monovalent booster will no longer be offered to those ages 12 and older as the Food and Drug Administration is removing authorization. The reason is to reduce provider confusion for those administering the vaccine. Children ages 5-11 can still get the monovalent boosters at this time, and until a bivalent vaccine is authorized for the age group.

Utah County residents can sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination at the Utah County Health Department website. Clinics are held Monday through Friday in Provo, Payson and American Fork.

“Vaccinations are the easiest and best measure of protection that we have,” said Amy Carter, communicable diseases and epidemiology nurse at the Weber-Morgan Health Department. “It’s important to make confident, educated decisions and I encourage people to talk to their primary care physician or to call the health department if they have any questions.”

Carter also said the CDC has a link to all of the studies on COVID-19 vaccines, as well as a myth/fact page.

“If we can get everyone immunized and get a good level of protection out there, we will have fewer hospitalizations and deaths,” she said.

The new boosters will also be available at local pharmacies and some medical clinics.


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