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MILLCREEK — On a windy afternoon at Rancho Market in Millcreek, shoppers and passersby stopped to pick up something other than the usual family groceries: a free vaccine or booster in the fight against COVID-19.
Nallily Huerta was one of those worried about the virus. So she got in line for her first booster shot at a mobile clinic set up by the Salt Lake County Health Department. Huerta has already received the first two doses of the vaccine and opted to get another shot for added protection from the virus.
"The first booster is particularly important because the primary series gets your body used to understanding what it's fighting," according to Dr. Tamara Sheffield, Intermountain Health Care's Medical director of Community Health and Prevention.
"It's a different kind of cell response, that actually enhances the ability to fight and fight quickly," Sheffield added.
It's recommended these Utahns get a second booster four months after the first.
Dr. Sheffield points to the fact that "a second booster will have a higher level of protection against severe disease – the things that put you in the hospital," she said. "There's a real difference for individuals who've had that second booster."
While infection rates around the country are climbing, officials believe hospital rates remain low largely due to the vaccines and boosters. People are getting sick, but not as severe as just a few months ago.
The pandemic is a journey and that journey is not done yet.
–Dr. Tamara Sheffield, Intermountain Health Care
But Dr. Sheffield warns that we are hardly done with the pandemic.
"The pandemic is a journey and that journey is not done yet," she said.
The coming months will see life continue to return to something like normal, with larger public gatherings. With it comes the fear from pandemic watchers of new subvariants that become more difficult to predict.
And for Utahns traveling outside the state there is this, Sheffield said, it's important to keep in mind that fellow sightseers will be coming from all sorts of locations.
"People really do need to consider, now is the time to do your booster. That's a trigger to get the second booster," Sheffield said.
Friday and Saturday the Salt Lake County Health Department mobile team will be at locations in the Salt Lake Valley to provide vaccine and booster shots free of charge. Go to saltlakehealth.org or call 385-468-SHOT (7468) for times and exact locations.