With new variants, rising cases and holidays, Wake County sees booster shot demand increase


RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – Across Wake County, more than 24,500 people went into pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and county health facilities to get their booster shots in the first week of December.

Experts expect those numbers to increase as people prep for the rest of the holiday and want to stay safe against new variants. 

The owner of White Oak Pharmacy, Melissa Illig, said she’s seen an increase in booster appointments over the past few weeks.

“The surge of booster shots has just been tremendous, every day, we’re doing anywhere between 50 and 100 a day,” Illig said.

Wednesday morning, Pfizer just announced that lab studies show people with boosters have 25-fold more antibodies to fight off variants like Omicron.

“I definitely want to do all I can to stay healthy and safe,” Cheryl Snead, who received her third Pfizer shot, said.

Illig said she’s also seeing better protection in customers who’ve been boosted rather than those with just two shots.

“Any kind of booster whatsoever does increase antibody response,” Illig said. “We’ve talked to a lot of people and we’ve also done antibody testing on a lot of people after their first two doses and they were surprised to see that their antibody response wasn’t as strong as they had hoped it would be.”

Right now, the vast majority of COVID shots given out in Wake County are boosters.

“I think with information and data that’s recently been shared and coming out, individuals are seeing the positive effects of having that booster,” Dr. Nicole Mushonga, Wake County Epidemiology program director said.

Data shows more than 24,500 people received boosters between November 29 and December 5 in Wake county, compared to both first and second shots totaling around 16,500 in the same time.

“I think that those that want to get it are definitely coming in for right now before the holidays,” Illig said.

Wait times for an appointment through the Wake County Covid-19 shot portal range between just a day to a few weeks. It all depends on which location and what type of vaccine you choose.

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