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Vaccine, booster demand "okay" in North Dakota

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State health officials estimate about 45 percent of eligible population is boosted.

Demand for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters is “okay” in North Dakota.

This is according to Jenny Galbraith, covid vaccine manager with the state health department. Galbraith says she thinks about 45 percent of North Dakota’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and boosted. And she says with the Omicron variant now in the state, those rates are concerning – because preliminary data suggests that just two doses of mRNA vaccines aren’t enough protection.

"One study out of the UK showed for the Pfizer vaccine, only about a 35 percent protection against symptomatic, and that's with the primary series. However, the good news is when you get a booster dose, those antibodies and that protection really does increase drastically, back into the 70 and 80 percent again. Really, we're a little bit nervous that our booster rate is so low, that there's people that may not even know they are eligible for a booster. We have a lot of work to do before Omicron really takes off."

Galbraith says demand for primary series and booster shots have increased lately, but has slowed down again as the holidays approach. But she says now is the perfect time to get vaccinated, or boosted.

"To get protected before those large family gatherings, getting tested before those family gatherings. We would all hate to be the individuals who brings covid, or even Omicron to our family."

Galbraith says the health department understands people want to get together for the holidays – but strongly suggests getting as vaccinated as possible, testing if you’re able to, and staying home if sick.

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