Third shots for healthy North Carolinians could be on the way


(WGHP) — Third dose shots of the COVID vaccine are around the corner for more than just those who are immunocompromised.

U.S. health officials Wednesday recommended all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling.

Only 1 in 10K fully vaccinated people wind up in NC hospitals with breakthrough COVID

While Forsyth County Health Director Joshua Swift said third doses have been front of mind for months, their biggest concern is getting people first and second doses.

He said, like the flu shot, it was always likely there would be some sort of maintenance shot in the future.

The next round of shots will likely go to people who got their last shot roughly eight months ago with healthcare workers and nursing home staff taking first priority.

“It’s probably just going to be…every year or two years…that will be a part of what we do is get a COVID vaccine,” Swift said.

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Part of that reason is that the delta variant is much more contagious than the original strand of COVID-19.

For example, a CDC graphic shows one person carrying the original strain may only pass it along to two people, while someone carrying the delta strain could pass it to anywhere from five to 10 people.

“Across the United States, Delta has taken over the cases,” Swift said.

This week, the Forsyth County Health Department is one of many that started administering third doses for immunocompromised patients.

“What we’ve learned so far for immune compromised: state guidance is that a person could switch from Moderna to Pfizer,” Swift said.

Scientists continue to study second doses for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

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Although vaccination rates have increased, with roughly 300 people in Forsyth County getting vaccinated Monday, Swift wants you to understand that positivity rates and hospitalizations are on the rise.

“Early July, we had 37 cases that week. This last full week, the 8th-14th of August, we had over 1,000 cases,” Swift explained.

He says that regardless of your stance on mask wearing and vaccinations, the severity of COVID will still trickle down to you.

“Even if you don’t believe in COVID, the hospitals are full. That’s going to affect you if a family member or someone you know gets sick or has an accident, is in a car wreck or has a heart attack because hospitals are nearing capacity,” Swift said.

Third doses are the same type of vaccine as the first two people received.

Again, health leaders are still focusing on getting people their original two doses right now.

They want to remind you being vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID, but it could stop you from severe symptoms, hospitalization and death.

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