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Northeast Ohio seeing COVID-19 booster shortage amid omicron surge

The increased demand is also driven by clearer, more concerted messaging coming from public health agencies stressing the need to be boosted amid omicron.

CLEVELAND — According to the CDC, this past Thursday marked the highest single-day vaccination total in the US since May, with more than 2 million doses given out. The entire week's total was 22% higher than the week before.

"We've seen an increase in people coming in to vaccinated, to get boosters, things of that nature," Adam Litke from Geauga County Public Health told 3News.

The Biden administration is urging eligible American to get booster shots to protect against the highly transmissible omicron variant, but that is creating a surge in demand, leaving many folks struggling to find a booster site.

"Never is supply an issue, but oftentimes it boils down to demand in a particular area," Jason Briscoe, director of pharmacy operations at Discount Drug Mart, said. "Some locations, you might have the ability to schedule an appointment today, and others you might have to wait for us to send you a notification."

The increased demand for boosters is also driven by clearer, more concerted messaging coming from public health agencies stressing the need to be boosted amid omicron. When shortages occur, Briscoe says his staff looks at other measures, "such as workplace clinics, working with schools, working with local church groups, whoever it may be."

The best advice? Check the website of your booster location of choice frequently. They may be out of boosters one minute, but have some the next. Also, be willing to travel a little further than your comfort zone to get a booster, and above all, be patient with vaccination and booster sites. They may be overwhelmed.

"Our clinics have been packed lately [with] people getting boosters and their first and second doses," Litke noted. "Help us reduce the strain on the hospitals, as they are seeing this strain during the holiday season."

Geauga Public Health is trying to combat booster vaccine shortages by allowing folks to walk in and get their shots without an appointment. Adult walk-in clinics are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., while children 11 and under are Monday and Friday from 1:30-4 p.m., by appointment only.

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