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Moderna, Johnson & Johnson booster shots now available

Posted on October 23, 2021

Local newsCOVID-19
COVID-19 vaccine shots are distributed to nurses during a recent mass vaccination clinic for farmworkers at the Wilson County Agricultural Center.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

COVID-19 vaccine shots are distributed to nurses during a recent mass vaccination clinic for farmworkers at the Wilson County Agricultural Center.

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are now available for more North Carolinians.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots to help strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19 infections.

“COVID-19 booster shots are an important tool to provide additional protection against COVID-19,” said N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “I encourage anyone who is eligible to get their booster.”

The Moderna COVID-19 booster shot is recommended for individuals who received their second dose at least six months ago and who are at high risk for severe illness or exposure based on their age, profession, living setting or health conditions.

This includes people 65 and older, along with people 18 or older who live or work in a nursing home or long-term care facility, have underlying medical conditions and those who work in high-risk settings like health care workers, teachers and child care providers or food workers.

Boosters are also recommended for those who live or work in a place where many people live together, such as homeless shelters, correctional facilities, migrant farm housing, dormitories or other group living settings in colleges or universities.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shot is recommended for individuals 18 and older who were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots have been available since Sept. 24 for North Carolinians at high risk for serious illness or exposure and who received their second dose at least six months ago.

Additionally, individuals are now able to receive any brand of the COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster.

Limited preliminary evidence suggests that booster doses of one of the two mRNA vaccines — Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech — more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services encourages individuals to speak with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist if they have questions about which booster is right for them.

“Today’s announcement expands eligibility to more North Carolinians who could benefit from additional protection against COVID-19,” Cohen said. “If you aren’t yet vaccinated, don’t wait. We are seeing this virus attack those who are unvaccinated at a much higher rate than those who are vaccinated.”

Booster shots are available anywhere COVID-19 vaccines are available. People do not need a doctor’s note to get a booster shot and may self-attest to eligibility.

Individuals who want to receive a booster shot will need to know the dates of any past COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the vaccine brand they originally received. Paper vaccination cards are helpful but may not be necessary. At-home vaccination and free transportation may be available.

North Carolina’s actions are based on recommendations from the CDC. Read the CDC’s full statement at the shortened link https://bit.ly/3jpk6mQ.

More information about COVID-19 vaccine boosters and additional doses is available on the NCDHHS website at https://bit.ly/2ZeBOTq.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina or to find a vaccine location, visit MySpot.nc.gov or call the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center for free at 888-675-4567.

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