Will you need three shots to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ in Wisconsin?

With boosters now available to all, the definition could change

FILE - A patient waits to be called for a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot outside a pharmacy in a grocery store, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in downtown Denver. Infection rates have soared in Colorado over the past month, and Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, to expand the use of booster shots to quell the recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

MADISON, Wis.– Booster shots are now available for all Americans, and for those still deciding whether or not to get the shot before Thanksgiving, doctors say the answer is clear: do not wait.

“As soon as someone gets the booster shot, their immune system begins reacting and producing antibodies,” Mo Kharbat, SSM Health’s vice president of pharmacy services, said.

While the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine took two weeks and often two doses to prompt the recipient’s body to start producing antibodies, the booster begins taking effect in as little as 48 hours.

“It will take two weeks or so to build up enough antibodies to prevent a COVID infection,” he added.

Still, Kharbat said some protection is better than none.

Those who received their initial vaccination series and not the booster are still protected, but not fully.

Everyone 18 and up is now eligible for a booster, and the CDC recommends people get one six months after the last shot in their initial vaccine series.

While third doses remain optional, they could eventually become necessary for Wisconsinites to still be considered fully vaccinated. Research is underway to determine whether a third dose will become part of the initial vaccine series or possibly a seasonal, annual, or biannual shot.

“That also depends on whether or not the virus continues to circulate and we continue to coexist in this pandemic,” Kharbat said.

As of November 2021, Public Health Madison & Dane County still considers people with two shots fully vaccinated and said 8 in 10 people have received at least one dose.