• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Saturday, September 25, 2021

Local providers to offer COVID-19 booster shots to seniors and high risk workers and individuals

Beginning on Monday, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Novant Health and the Forsyth County Department of Public Health will begin offering Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for those who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine for at least six months and are at least 65 years of age or older or in a long term facility, or are over 18 with an underlying condition or at increased risk of exposure due to occupation or institutional setting.

Eligible individuals will be able to get their booster shot from participating health care providers, including local pharmacies, and will not need to get it from the same provider they received their first two doses from. It is safe to receive the COVID-19 booster at the same time as the influenza vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the booster shots are safe and effective and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended which groups of people should receive the boosters.

The CDC recommends the following groups should get a booster shot:

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings
  • people aged 50–64 with underlying medical conditions

The CDC recommendations say the following groups may a booster shot:

  • people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions based on their individual benefits and risks
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting

The CDC defines underlying conditions as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia or other neurological conditions, diabetes (type 1 or 2), down syndrome, heart conditions, HIV infection, being immunocompromised, liver disease, being overweight or obese, sickle cell disease or thalassemia, smoking (or having been a smoker), solid organ or stem cell transplant, stroke or cerebrovascular disease and substance use disorders.

Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers as previously detailed by the CDC:

  • First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
  • Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Corrections workers
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

For more information on CDC recommendations, visit www.cdc.gov

Those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and who are already fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are already eligible to receive a third dose to complete their primary vaccination series.

Novant Health is now administering vaccines at select clinic locations as well as its mass vaccination clinic, located at 196 Hanes Mall Circle, Winston-Salem, NC. The mass vaccination clinic is open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. While walk-ins are accepted for first and second doses at most permanent vaccination sites, Novant Health does require eligible individuals seeking a third dose of vaccine to make an appointment. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit GetVaccinated.org.

Vaccination appointments are available at the Forsyth County Department of Public Health Department, 799 N. Highland Ave, by going on online at Bit.Ly/FCNCCovidVaccine or by calling 336-582-0800 from 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Mon-Fri.

Information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations through Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist can be found online at wakehealth.edu/vaccine .

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