ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is holding vaccination clinics this week and it’s the first day Pfizer booster shots are available.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is offering free shots for those ages 65 and above and for anyone with health conditions. 81-year-old James Reipold is getting his first booster shot for the Pfizer vaccine to protect himself against COVID-19.

“I feel like I’m protected a little bit now, and hopefully we can get all the people to get their first and second shots, so maybe we’ll be able to take the mask off,” says Reipold.

Reipold says the COVID-19 pandemic reminds him of the polio outbreak when he was just a young boy. He’s hoping more people in the community get vaccinated to protect others.

“I just feel like it’s the smart thing to do, the scientists have been working on things like this all their lives,” he says.

So far 5,646 residents in Southwest Utah have received their first Pfizer dose and 4,786 have gotten their second. David Heaton, the department spokesperson says the majority of residents — about 40,000 — have gotten the Moderna vaccine and about 8,000 have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“If you had Moderna vaccines or Johnson & Johnson, those boosters are still in the works and not yet approved, so this is limited to anyone who had the Pfizer vaccine before and it needs to be at least 6 months from your last Pfizer vaccine until your booster,” says Heaton.

Heaton says eligible residents should make an appointment and head to 620 South 400 East in St. George for the clinics taking place on Monday, Thursday, and Friday this week.

“The demand is not overwhelming, which in one way is good,” says Heaton. “We want to be able to accommodate all the people we have. I think we have about 1500 doses of Pfizer vaccine this week.”

“We just want all of you that hasn’t had the shot to go get it,” says Reipold. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. If it doesn’t hurt me at my age, it’s not going to hurt you at yours!”

Heaton says residents should head to the department website or call 435-986-2591 for more information