Walz, Flanagan: Get COVID boosters before fall to guard against omicron

Published 9:44 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

By Brian Baskt

Minnesota officials are urging people to update their COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the fall, when a migration indoors can lead to more exposures.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and their spouses received their latest boosters Friday in a public awareness push. Walz said 9,000 to 10,000 people per day are getting a free, bivalent booster shot that can guard against serious illness from omicron-related variants.

Department of Health assistant health commissioner Daniel Huff said people two months from their last COVID-19 booster or three months from a prior infection should consider getting the new shot.

“You can get it any time. It’s just you want to maximize. A vaccine charges up your immune system,” Huff said. “It reminds your immune system of what to do.”

The booster shots are available to anybody over 12 years old who already received a primary series of COVID vaccines. The shots are available at community clinics around Minnesota, as well as pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

Common colds, the flu and other viruses more easily spread as people move more activities indoors.

Flanagan recommended that people who haven’t gotten any COVID vaccines reconsider.

“As we head into the flu season, a new school year and start to spend more time with each other indoors, it’s never too late to change your mind,” she said. “If this is your first time getting the COVID vaccine, we thank you. It is never too late to protect yourselves, protect your fellow Minnesotans as well.”

About three-quarters of eligible Minnesotans have received at least one shot, according to state data. But only one-third of the population is considered up-to-date in their COVID vaccinations, including a booster.