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WDH updates COVID-19 vaccine booster recommendations in light of Omicron

Campbell County Public Health nurse, Sophie Hood, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: County 17 / Brooke Byelich)

CCPH Nurse Sophie Hood administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021

Recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses have been updated to include a wider range of residents as the Omicron variant spreads across the state, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) said Thursday.

The Omicron variant has reportedly replaced the Delta variant as the most common version of COVID-19 causing new infections in Wyoming, according to Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and WDH epidemiologist.

“We are currently seeing big jumps in Wyoming’s case counts again, likely due to the Omicron variant,” Harrist said in a Jan. 6 statement. “This is again not like the COVID-19 we have become familiar with because it spreads much more easily between people. Unfortunately, when a virus transmits between people easily more people become infected.”

Since Jan. 5, there have been 792 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming and 203 new probable cases. To date, there have 94,226 lab-confirmed cases with 1,845 of those remaining active and have been a total of 24,867 probable cases, per WDH.

As of Jan. 6, there have been 25 cases of the Omicron variant detected in the state, WDH says.

“While we aren’t yet certain how much severe illness will accompany the increase in cases, we do know vaccines are the best tool we have to protect people from severe illness,” Harrist continued. “We continue to encourage eligible adults and children to say yest to free, safe, and effective vaccination if they haven’t already and to encourage those eligible for booster doses to get them as soon as possible to enhance and extend their protection.”

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their recommendations to include COVID-19 booster doses for fully vaccinated youth ages 12-15. Additionally, a single booster dose of the vaccine is now recommended for any resident ages 12 and over who received their second Pfizer dose at least five months ago, per WDH.

Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for individuals aged 12-17 years, WDH says.

Adults who received a Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine at least two months ago or those who received their second Moderna dose at least six months ago are eligible for booster doses. Mixing and matching, per WDH, vaccine types for booster doses is acceptable for adults.

Children ages 5-11 are eligible for two doses of the Pfizer vaccine meant that age group if they haven’t yet been vaccinated. In addition, the CDC has authorized and recommended a third dose for children in this age group who have moderately or seriously compromised immune systems.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.