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Many vaccinators still waiting for bivalent COVID-19 booster doses

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Moderna Booster MGN

The boosters have received federal approval, but many vaccinators are waiting for doses to arrive.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots have FDA approval. States have been able to place orders for doses. The rollout has started. However, many vaccinators don't have any appointments available. 

Dr. James Conway, the medical director for UW Health's immunization program, said the health system hasn't received any doses of the new boosters yet. 

"A lot of the commercial pharmacies seem to get the vaccines first," he said.  "Most of the rest of us that are in the healthcare industry get ours through the state health department. While the administration has purchased upwards of 170 million doses, they're still working their way from distributors to the state and then to each of us in our health care system."

Officials with Wisconsin's Department of Health Services said the new booster shots are coming. 

"These new boosters have started to arrive in Wisconsin and will continue to arrive at pharmacies, clinics and health centers over the next several days and weeks," Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the chief medical officer for DHS' Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said. 

However, while vaccinators are waiting for those new shots to arrive, they can't continuing administering the original booster doses to people 12 and older because the FDA revoked the authorization for those shots in favor of the new bivalent boosters. 

"We did have some appointments that were scheduled for the original boosters that we did cancel, and we made them aware that they need to reschedule once those bivalent boosters are available," Morgan Finke, a spokesperson for Public Health Madison & Dane County, said. 

Finke said PHMDC is working on plans for distributing the new bivalent booster once the agency receives doses, saying she expects to share more details within the next week. 

That's a similar timeline to what Conway said he and his UW Health colleagues are expecting. 

"We're hoping to have some of them in the next week or so, but it's really kind of a 'to be determined' at this point," he said. 

Officials from Rock County Public Health said they expect the new boosters to be available starting Sept. 14. 

Some vaccinators in Wisconsin are already administering the bivalent booster doses. You can find those locations on vaccines.gov