Older teens who had a Pfizer COVID vaccine now eligible for booster 

By: - December 10, 2021 2:58 pm
Double masked teen getting vaccine

CDC photo

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is now recommending that anyone 16 or older who has had a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster shot of the same type at at least six months after receiving the second dose.

On Friday DHS endorsed the Centers for Disease Control’s approval of the Pfizer booster for 16- and 17-year-olds. Both organizations “strongly recommend” that anyone eligible for a booster get one as quickly as possible as variants are spreading, cases are spiking and hospitals are at or near capacity in Wisconsin. Officials say the increase is primarily due to the delta variant currently, but DHS reports that the discovery of cases of the omicron variant in Wisconsin has added to the uncertainty and the crisis.

“Being fully vaccinated and getting a booster dose is the best protection for preventing the worst outcomes from COVID-19,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake.

For people 18 or older, booster doses of any COVID-19 vaccine have been recommended for recipients of all three varieties, six months after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna version, or two months after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. But that “mix-and-match” recommendation has not yet been extended to younger ages.

“At this time the Pfizer vaccine booster dose is the only one recommended for 16- and 17-year-olds,” according to the DHS announcement, which specified its booster recommendation in that age group only for Pfizer recipients.

DHS officials say that 1.2 million Wisconsinites have gotten a booster vaccine.

“We have identified several cases of the omicron variant in Wisconsin and we are seeing continuing high levels of disease across our state,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for DHS. “These trends are important reminders that getting vaccinated is critically important and that getting a booster dose provides even more protection.”

Westergaard stressed that so long as “large populations of people” remain unvaccinated, the risk remains high that people who need care may not be able to receive it.

The booster dose not only provides stronger and longer protection against COVID-19, it also lessens the chances of serious illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19, according to DHS.  To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider visit, or call 211 or 877-947-2211.


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.