Triangle-area providers ready to give boosters after CDC panel backs approval for vulnerable people

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Thursday, a CDC advisory panel backed Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

Earlier this week, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for people over the age of 65 and for people who have high-risk jobs.

Wake County Public Health said it can do more than 2,000 shots a day if needed, but is waiting to get more information from the CDC and state to administer the boosters.

We Care Pharmacy in Apex is gearing up to give patients their booster shots.

“We have seen the phone calls coming for them as well, and we have already done a few vaccinations this morning. And we’re also scheduling them,” said pharmacist Amrish Patel.

People who are immunocompromised have been eligible to get a third dose of Moderna or Pfizer for about a month. Now more people can get their third shot.

“We were all prepared for that. We have all the supplies in,” Patel said.

The FDA authorized boosters for those who’ve received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. They must be 65 or older or have high-risk jobs, like health care workers and teachers.

Some providers, like Wake and Durham counties, say they’re ready to administer the boosters but are waiting on more guidance from the state first.

“We’re ready to go as soon as we get the authorization. Of course, we have no problem with vaccines. We have no problem with manpower to provide the vaccinations,” said Rod Jenkins, Durham public health director.

They will then share all the information necessary on who’s eligible and when.

At UNC Health, it is doing the same, but also reaching out to providers who have eligible patients.

“The good news for us is even if we do 80 here and do another 50 there, we also have community partners vaccinating people. I don’t think it’s going to be too hard to get vaccinated,” said Dr. David Wohl, professor of medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Wohl added the current vaccines are working and not waning.

“There’s no emergency for getting the supplemental dose. You don’t have to get it today versus tomorrow or next week,” said Dr. Wohl.

The state said it’s going to review the CDC’s committee recommendations for Pfizer booster shots, then give information to different providers on who to give them to and when.

If you have questions about Pfizer COVID-19 boosters, you can join NCDHHS’s upcoming Town Hall featuring Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and NCDHHS Chief Medical Officer on Monday, Sept. 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. by dialing (855) 756-7520 and entering 76072# when prompted.

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