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Local health departments and pharmacies are now distributing the new COVID booster

Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

The Oneida County Health Department is one of many local organizations doling out the new COVID-19 bivalent booster. It vaccinated about 350 people at its pop-up clinic Thursday.

With more than two years of practice, the Oneida County Health Department runs COVID vaccine clinics like a well-oiled machine.

Volunteers and health workers cycle hundreds of people through the vaccination process – getting them registered, answering questions, distributing shots and updating paperwork.

The health department is just one of many organizations across the Northwoods now distributing the new bivalent COVID-19 booster shot.

Linda Conlon, the department’s director, says initial interest in the new booster is high.

“Definitely there’s a lot of interest in the beginning,” she says. “We’re seeing that today with all of these people getting their booster shots.”

The Oneida County Health Department vaccinated about 350 people at its pop-up clinic Thursday. More than half of those people got their flu shot at the same time.

The CDC endorsed the updated COVID booster earlier this month.

Conlon says, unlike previous boosters, this one is formulated to better protect against the omicron variant.

“It’s really geared toward the omicron variant,” she says. “What we want is for people to get vaccinated, so they have better protection that matches against the strains that are circulating at this point.”

COVID community levels in Oneida, Vilas, Forest and Langlade Counties are currently low, according to the CDC.

But Conlon expects the virus will pick up as the weather cools down.

“We definitely have COVID circulating,” she says. “People are going to be indoors more, schools are starting. We’re going to likely see an increase it COVID, so it’s a prime opportunity for people to get vaccinated.”

The Oneida County Health Department is offering two more vaccine clinics next week, with both COVID boosters and flu shots available.

You can find other locations offering COVID vaccinations at vaccines.gov.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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