SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Health officials are researching if a COVID-19 booster shot is necessary.

It has already been approved by Israel, the first country to do so.

Local health officials said the booster shot is an afterthought right now.

Data shows only 45% of eligible Utahns are fully vaccinated, so doctors tell ABC4 their main goal is achieving herd immunity.

Utahns continue to get their COVID-19 vaccine just at a much slower rate.

“I lost a lot of friends,” said Maria Morales. “I was just brokenhearted and I couldn’t even go and say goodbye.”

Morales is fully vaccinated and immunocompromised.

She said she would get another COVID-19 shot, a booster shot, if it meant helping herself and others. 

“I’m paranoid of getting something,” said Morales. “I was totally paranoid from day one.”

Since day one of COVID-19 vaccinations, health leaders have pushed for every eligible Utahn to get one.

Data is not conclusive on how long strong immunity lasts, so countries like ours and Israel are thinking about approving a third COVID vaccine shot or booster shot.

Israel approved it Monday, while the U.S. is still in talks.

A booster would help those who are immunocompromised and help fight the COVID variants.

“Any place where that’s happening, including Utah, is a reservoir for new variants to emerge and that is going to invade the next booster, so I think it is a global problem,” said University of Utah Health Dr. Sankar Swaminathan.

The problem now still is Utah’s vaccination rate.

It lags behind a majority of states, so Dr. Swaminathan said that should be the focus, not booster shots.

“I think it comes down to personal beliefs and do I have to get vaccinated,” said John Spikes. “It’s my choice to get vaccinated. I believe people have that choice to make and decided to make.”