PHMDC waiting for state health officials’ approval for COVID-19 booster targeting variant strains

The CDC and FDA are expected to approve a new COVID booster shot that will be available in the...
The CDC and FDA are expected to approve a new COVID booster shot that will be available in the fall. The new booster will be specifically tailored to target the Omicron variants that are dominant in the U.S. right now, known as BA.4 and BA.5.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:53 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 1:48 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County health officials are waiting for the state Department of Health Services’ cue before it begins giving out COVID-19 booster shots that also target the Omicron variant strain.

Public Health Madison and Dane County said that it is part of the state vaccine network, meaning it has to wait for DHS to give approval before it can offer the shots at its clinics.

A spokesperson for DHS said Thursday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not recommended the vaccinations yet. An advisory committee for the CDC will meet to discuss the potential approval and then the CDC director will make the final call. If approved, the CDC will update its clinical guidance for vaccinations and DHS will review the guidance before issuing recommendations to area health departments.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Wednesday the Moderna and Pfizer versions of a single booster dose used to fight the nation’s most common Omicron strains. This booster can be given out at least two months after a primary series or booster shot.

Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, even as different mutants emerged. The new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots. They contain half that original vaccine recipe and half protection against the newest omicron versions, BA.4 and BA.5, that are considered the most contagious yet.

According to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, 262 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the last 30 days among COVID-19 cases tested by researchers. There have been 22,530 cases identified since testing started.

Data from DHS show 35.4% of the state has received an additional dose or a booster shot. That metric is even higher for Dane County, with half of its residents having a booster shot or extra dose.

On Wednesday, DHS reported 1,505 new COVID-19 cases. This brings the total number of cases ever confirmed in the state up to 1,613,591.