People who received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year will be eligible for a booster shot next month in Jefferson County.
Beginning the week of Sept. 20 and starting eight months after an individual’s second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the booster will be rolled out to area residents and workers.
First on the list will be health care providers, nursing home residents and seniors.
Samroz Jakvani, epidemiologist for the Jefferson County Health Department, said booster shots likely will be delivered directly to long-term care facilities at that time.
Also, those who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March or after will have to wait.
“More data on the J&J vaccine is expected in the next few weeks,” Jakvani said.
The offering of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is subject to the FDA conducting an independent evaluation, he said in a press release.
“It is not yet known whether the recommendation for booster doses will be included in the Emergency Use Authorization, or if they will be recommended as part of a fully approved, licensed COVID-19 vaccine product,” Jakvani said.
The Jefferson County Health Department, he said, will keep the public informed with updates for a booster shot.
Currently, the health department does not intend to hold mass vaccination clinics due to a robust network of vaccinators that did not exist earlier in the year, the epidemiologist pointed out.
“Additionally, there is not a clear urgency to administer additional or booster doses as there was an urgency to begin administration of COVID-19 vaccine earlier in the year,” Jakvani said.
The booster will be available at many local pharmacy chains and doctors offices, he noted.
As most schools begin in Jefferson County next week, there is much debate about masks for students and teachers.
Another area of concern is that Jefferson County is not quite at a 50 percent vaccination rate. Last year in September, COVID cases started to spike in Wisconsin and around the country.
Jill Underly, state superintendent of schools, on Wednesday urged everyone headed into school buildings to get vaccinated and wear masks.
“The masks are simple, and the rewards are great,” said Underly. “Wear a mask when inside buildings. Get vaccinated if you’re able to. Maintain safe distancing where possible. If we agree to collectively use these mitigation strategies, our school buildings remain open.”
Wisconsin’s two largest districts, Milwaukee and Madison, both were looking into a vaccine mandate for teachers, something that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said he supports.
In the Mequon-Thiensville School District in suburban Milwaukee, parents are trying to recall four of seven board members, in part for policies enacted related to requiring masks and contact tracing students who test positive for COVID-19.
Infections and hospitalizations in Wisconsin are spiking to levels not seen since January due to the more contagious Delta variant.
Since the start of the pandemic, about 10 percent of Jefferson County residents have had the virus, with 8,867 cases reported.
— The Associated Press contributed to this story.