As COVID-19 cases reach record highs, CCPHD strongly recommends COVID-19 boosters, including for ages 12 to 15

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PITTSBORO — On Thursday, Jan. 6th, the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services reported 24,292 new cases of COVID-19, with 114 among Chatham County residents, and 3,292 hospitalizations in the state. These figures show the spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

“While the Omicron variant likely causes less severe illness on average than Delta, many will still get sick given the number of cases we are experiencing,” said Mike Zelek, Chatham County Public Health Director. “This is why our core strategies, including vaccinations, masking, and testing, are still so important. Specifically, the booster shot is providing strong, increased protection against disease from Omicron. This is very good news. The bad news: Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are on the rise, and most who end up in the hospital remain those who are not vaccinated.”

More data coming out supports the use of booster doses in providing protection against COVID-19, specifically the Omicron variant. According to recent data published by the United Kingdom Health Security Agency, getting three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine was associated with a 68% reduced risk of hospitalization and 88% reduced risk of symptomatic infection compared to unvaccinated people. The report about the data can be read here.

Also this week, the Centers for Disease Control recommended, based on the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization, three updates to COVID-19 booster availability and wait times:

• Children 12 and up who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least five months ago can receive the Pfizer booster.

• Children ages 5-11 who are immunocompromised are encouraged to receive a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

• The wait time for boosters for anyone who received a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been reduced from six months to five months.

People who received the two doses of the Moderna vaccine should receive their booster in six months.

People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive their booster two months after their vaccination.

These changes have been made on the CCPHD’s COVID-19 boosters webpage, where residents can learn more about these shots and whether they are eligible. Residents can find COVID-19 vaccination locations in and around Chatham County online. The boosters webpage is here.

Additionally, there are many COVID-19 testing spots around Chatham County. However, as demand for testing increases due to increased spread, many require or strongly encourage making an appointment ahead of time. To see a full list of COVID-19 testing locations in Chatham, visit this website.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and find other resources, visit the county's vaccine page. To learn more about the Chatham County Public Health Department, visit the department's website or Facebook.

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