This week, Campbell County Public Health began offering COVID-19 booster shots for those who received their full two-shot series of Pfizer doses at least six months ago.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization for the Pfizer booster dose on Sept. 22.
It is recommended for those:
- 65 and older
- 18 through 64 at high risk of severe illness from COVID.
- 18 through 64 who are frequently exposed to COVID-19, through work or other settings, putting them at increased risk of severe illness
That last category, which Public Health Response Coordinator Ivy McGowan said is “broad” and “vague,” opens the third shot up to a larger portion of Campbell County residents.
“At this point, if anyone who has had their full Pfizer series and it has been at least six months, the booster will be offered to them,” she said.
McGowan compared it to when the original COVID-19 vaccination tiers flowed down to the county last winter. Once the “critical infrastructure” employee phase opened, it essentially made the shot available to the majority of the community. However, when Public Health first made vaccine appointments available to the general public, it was primarily vaccinating with Moderna, which has not had a third-shot booster authorized yet.
Campbell County first received the Pfizer vaccine last December, as it was the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the U.S.
Health care workers were offered the initial jabs first, followed by first responders and long-term care facility residents. Because of its more tenuous storage requirements, the Pfizer vaccine was housed in a specialized freezer in Campbell County Memorial Hospital while Public Health could store its newly acquired Moderna shots on its own.
“It really is going to be kind of limited because of how the Pfizer was distributed to begin with,” McGowan said.
Seniors in the community were next up for their shots in January, when Public Health began administering the Moderna doses, which it continued offering through its in-house vaccine clinics through the spring.
Those 18 and older who received their second Pfizer shot by the end of March are eligible for the third shot from Public Health and can schedule appointments now by calling 307-682-7275.
McGowan said Public Health has had an uptick in demand for the COVID-19 vaccine this month, but did not provide numbers in time for press.
The county agency saw an increase from 206 shots administered in July to 385 doses given in August. The August numbers are only slightly higher than the 362 shots given in June, according to vaccination numbers provided by Public Health.
The most doses were administered in March, when 3,613 shots were given as the vaccine became available to the general public.
With 22.26% of its overall population fully vaccinated, Campbell County is the second-least vaccinated county in Wyoming, trailing only behind Crook County, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
Testing, testing …
An additional COVID-19 testing location opened this week which Public Health hopes will help will expedite the testing process for people in the community and lighten the load for Public Health employees tied up in drive-thru testing at its main office.
The testing site, run by the company Curative, is across from the courthouse in the Cloud Peak Energy Building at 505 S. Gillette Ave.
Testing times will be available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The tests are free and results may take one to two days to process. Appointments can be scheduled by visiting https://curative.com/sites/32691 and walk-up testing is also offered without an appointment.
“We’re certainly hoping we can start redirecting traffic over there so folks here can catch their breath and help with some of the other things that get pushed aside,” McGowan said.