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Omicron booster shot now available in Billings

Omicron Booster
Posted at 5:20 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 08:32:45-04

BILLINGS - The FDA approved a booster shot for the Omicron strain of COVID-19 about a week ago, and on Wednesday the vaccine was made available to people in Billings.

Len and Bonnie Richards were some of the first people in the community to upgrade their vaccination status, and for them, the process was quick and painless.

“We walked in, and the guy said, 'come on in' and we’ve been here about five minutes - maybe six-seven minutes - and it’s done,” Len said.

At the ages of 71 and 72, the couple said that getting the vaccine was a no-brainer, especially given their medical situation.

“We’ve been to seven funerals for people who have died of Covid,” Len said.

“I have MS and I’m going to do whatever I can to stay healthy. That’s for sure,” Bonnie said.

The couple received their doses at Pharm406 on Billings West End, but there were patients getting boosted all over the city.

At RiverStone Health, Kelly Gardner, program manager for the agency's communicable diseases department, said that many people will be jumping at the chance.

“I think the people who were first in line to get it before will probably be first in line again,” Gardner said.

For those who have received every recommended vaccine, this will be their fifth shot. Health officials like Program Manager of Vaccine Services Brenda Koch said that people should start to expect this vaccination to occur annually.

“The virus just keeps evolving. So I just see us forever giving Covid vaccine just as we do the flu vaccine,” said Koch.

Gardner expressed the hope that eventually COVID vaccines could be mixed in with the yearly flu shot, but said that for now, the shots will need to be separate.

“The hope was to have a vaccine sort of like the MMR vaccine or something like that where it’s good for a number of years or potentially for life, but that’s just not what we’re looking at right now,” Gardner said.

As for the Richardses, they have no problem with returning for another dose next year. They’ll do whatever they can to keep their family safe.

“I don’t want to get sick, I don’t want my wife to get sick, and I don’t want to bury either one of us. It’s worth it,” Len said.