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Health experts urge families to get their eligible teens boosted against COVID-19

Those 16 and 17 years old are the latest to be added to the Pfizer booster eligibility list.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the clock ticks down toward the holidays, health experts say families should add COVID-19 boosters to their to-do lists. 

"Your booster takes about 10 to 14 days to be fully active," said Polk County Health Department Public Health Communications Officer Nola Aigner Davis. "Right now is when you want to get your booster, so you could have it being fully active in your body and fully protecting you."

With Christmas a little more than two weeks away, health experts say now is the perfect time to get a booster shot. Doctors say teens tolerate the vaccine and its booster very well, rarely encountering side effects. 

They also say the risks of a vaccine are greatly outweighed by the side effects a teen could encounter if they contract the virus. 

"Such as extreme fatigue for weeks to months," said MercyOne Infectious Disease Pharmacist Dr. Jeff Brock. "Missing school, which can impact their learning. It's not all related to ending up in the hospital or dying with COVID. It's those long-term side effects which can happen in some people, which are really troublesome and can also lead to loss of taste and smell, particularly in young adults."

As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Iowa, health experts urge anyone who's eligible for a booster to get one. 

"We are seeing increases in disease throughout our community here in Iowa and nationally," said Dr. Brock. "To get the best protection we need to get people vaccinated as soon as possible."

"So the best way to prevent the spread of additional variances is to get fully vaccinated and to get your booster," adds Aigner Davis. "Because when we're fully vaccinated with a booster, there is nowhere for that virus to go. Because when there are more people unvaccinated, this gives the virus the ability to mutate and create new variants."

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