COVID vaccine boosters; Pfizer, Moderna approval pending

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Aug. 31, putting final approval in the hands of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Ben Weston, Milwaukee County's chief health policy advisor, said the boosters stand out from the rest. For the first time, they target the highly contagious omicron variant.

"We had a major crisis, we lost a million people in this country," said Christine Clonginger.

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It was a crisis, Clonginger and her husband, Phil, want to stay protected against.

"I think I would have been really sick if I had it, haven't got any shots," Phil said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The CDC's approval, the Clongingers said, can't come soon enough.

"We will go to our Walgreens and have it done," said Christine.

"COVID isn’t going away anytime soon," Weston said.

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The omicron variant, according to the CDC, is what communities have been seeing the most of. Weston said the booster will increase protection against it.

"A booster that combines the two different variants, including the most up-to-date one," he said. "It’s a reminder to your immune system on how best to defend against COVID."

Should people get the booster that is already available, or wait for the new ones, though? Weston said, for now, people should "focus on the new one."

"Since I just had COVID, maybe the antibodies will last me six months maybe a year," said Ted Drazovic, who plans to wait on a booster dose.

However, Weston said, while getting COVID-19 does protect people – that protection is not forever.

"You still ought to get vaccinated, you still ought to get boosted," said Weston.

It's a chance the Clongingers are not willing to take.

"If you love your neighbor, you're going to get it, to not only protect yourself but the people around you," said Christine.

Weston said the CDC is expected to vote Thursday, Sept. 1. If approved, the vaccine boosters could be available as soon as next week. The Pfizer booster would be for people 12 and older, while Moderna would be for people 18 and older.