Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell has released a new video in which he provides updates on the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, who is eligible for them, how effective they are, and more. But first, like a stern grandfather teaching a life lesson in a fishing boat, he had to sit viewers down to let them know that he wasn't mad, he was just disappointed.

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"I thought I would update you on the vaccine status," Dr. Dowell began. "Wyoming continues to be one of the least vaccinated states in the country at around 37.5% to 38%. You know how I feel about that."

'Nuff said.

Dowell then answered some questions regarding the COVID-19 booster shots.

"As far as the boosters go, I thought I would clarify what to do with these," he said. "Let's start with Johnson & Johnson."

Dowell said that if individuals have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they should "definitely boost that." He said they can get a booster shot any time after two months from first receiving the vaccine.

"If it were me," he offered, "I would boost it with either the Pfizer or Moderna, and not get another Johnson & Johnson."

Dowell said getting the vaccine, as well as the booster, will go a long way towards reducing COVID-19 in Natrona County.

"There is rampant COVID still in this community," he said. "We're still seeing a lot of bad disease. I worked last weekend and it was, like, awful."

He also stated that if individuals have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and "fall into the usual categories," like healthcare workers, people who are at a higher risk to COVID exposure, people over 65 years of age, or people with immunity problems, they can all get another booster of either type.

Dowell said that he wishes everybody who has received the vaccine could get another booster shot, but that that can't quite happen just yet.

"That is coming, but not quite yet," he said. "So hang tight, those of you who are not in healthcare or have high-risk for severe COVID. I think these boosters will be opened up to anybody soon."

Dowell then discussed the potential of children, aged 5-11, getting the vaccine.

"The first vaccine that will be approved [for children] will, I believe, be the Pfizer," he said. "Moderna has also submitted some data that are being reviewed now. I suspect that 5-11 will be approved and hopefully released in early November. Perhaps the second week. That is still to be decided but I think that will still be the case, and that dose will be one-third of the adult dose."

Dowell said the vaccine will be safe and effective for children, just as it was for adults.

"Very effective, very safe," he said. "I would give my kids that vaccine without any hesitation at all. The studies look excellent and well-tolerated by the kids, as well as all these other vaccines when you really look at history and look at the numbers."

Dowell said that he hopes booster shots will become more available to willing individuals in the coming weeks.

"There's a lot of unused vaccine in this country and we need to put it into arms," he said.

In closing, Dr. Dowell gave his well-wishes to the community, telling them to be safe and to stay healthy.

"Be careful out there," he said. "There is still a ton of COVID here. And I don't want any of you to get ill. A new study just came out looking at the Pfizer booster. It is so effective that it cuts down your risk of even having symptoms if you get COVID. So not only does it keep you from getting sick, or going into the hospital, or even dying - it shows that it will probably not even allow you to get common cold symptoms."

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

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