New COVID-19 booster doses arriving in Green Country

TULSA, Okla. — The updated COVID-19 boosters green-lighted by the CDC on Sept. 1 are arriving in Green Country.

FOX23 spoke with Manager of Immunizations for the Tulsa Health Department Ellen Niemitalo

She said they’ve received the Pfizer COVID-19 booster doses, but are still waiting to receive the Moderna doses. Tulsans can go ahead and start scheduling their booster shot appointments for next week through the Tulsa Health Department’s website here.

Next week, the Tulsa Health Department plans to begin administering the updated COVID-19 boosters at its Central Regional Health Center, the North Regional Health and Wellness Center, the James O. Goodwin Health Center and the Sand Springs Health and Wellness Center.

Niemitalo said those 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer booster and those 18 and older can get the new Moderna booster dose.

“Really excited that this is an additional tool that individuals can use to add that layer of protection against the COVID strains that are currently circulating,” said Niemitalo.

FOX23 also asked Niemitalo why those who have been fully vaccinated can still test positive for COVID-19.

“We do recognize that getting the vaccine is not 100 percent effective in preventing infections,” said Niemitalo. “But we continue to see that the original vaccine has been effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths.”

She added that with the new booster, which provides protection against two of the strains, she’s hopeful those breakthrough cases will be reduced.

As of last week, 16,720 Oklahomans have died of COVID-19 according to Dr. Dale Bratzler, the Chief COVID Officer at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Bratzler said the new bivalent vaccine covers two different strains of the COVID virus.

“It covers the original strain that we were vaccinated against starting last December of 2020,” said Bratzler. “And then it includes the coating for the spike protein for the new Omicron subvariants that are spreading right now.”

Bratzler said virtually 100 percent of the new cases are due to either the BA.4 or the BA.5 subvariant.

In addition to the Tulsa Health Department, the new COVID-19 booster shots are also available at major pharmacy chains.

As to who will make the effort to get the booster shots, it depends on who you ask.

Drew Titchener of Sand Springs said she has not gotten any of the vaccine series.

“I’m healthy and I’ve got a great immune system, so I’m not going to take that shot,” she said.

FOX23 asked Shonta Williams of Tulsa if she planned to get the new COVID-19 booster dose.

“It’s just better for me and my family to help myself and protect my family so when the booster comes I will definitely get it,” said Williams.

As it turns out, Williams has only gotten the first shot in the series, so she will have to complete the series in order to be eligible for the new COVID-19 booster shot.

Anyone who wants to get the new booster needs to make sure they’ve completed the two-shot series first.

Bratzler also wants to remind people with elderly family members who are in long term care that it’s important to make sure they get the new COVID-19 booster.