NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC - This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved and recommended booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. With this approval, New Hanover County Health and Human Services will begin administering Pfizer boosters to anyone eligible who is 12 and older at all county vaccination clinics.
In addition, this week the CDC shortened the interval from 6 months to 5 months for when people who received the Pfizer vaccine can receive a booster. The booster interval recommendation for people who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine (2 months) or the Moderna vaccine (6 months), has not changed.
"This new guidance from our country's top health officials expands eligibility and signals the importance of getting a booster and being vaccinated," said the county's new Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell. "We strongly encourage anyone five and older to be vaccinated, and that adolescents - those 12 to 17 - get the booster once they have reached the five-month mark after their initial series of Pfizer vaccinations. No vaccine gives someone 100% immunity, but by getting the full series of COVID vaccines and a booster, a person is much better protected and less likely to suffer severe illness from the virus. Our vaccine clinics are open, and we hope individuals and families will take advantage of them to protect themselves, their loved ones and our community."
The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Vaccination Clinics at 1650 Greenfield Street and Independence Mall are offering initial vaccines and boosters to anyone who is eligible. Appointments are encouraged and can be scheduled by visiting TakeMyShot.NC.gov. Walk-ups are accepted at both clinic locations and vaccines will be administered based on availability.
The CDC also recommended this week that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5-11-year-olds should receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after their second shot. Families should consult with their physician to determine eligibility for this dose. Children who are fully vaccinated in this age group but not immunocompromised do not need to receive a third dose at this time.
COVID-19 Community Data, as of January 6:
- New Hanover County's % positivity over the past 14 days is 23.4% (this represents positive Molecular (PCR) tests as a % of total PCR tests performed countywide).
- Over the past 14 days, 3,018 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county which is an average of 215 cases per day.
- According to NHRMC, as of January 3, the average daily number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized over the previous week was 43.
- Approximately 152,031 New Hanover County residents (about 65%) have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and approximately 143,744 residents (about 61%) are fully vaccinated and protected from COVID-19.
"The omicron variant is circulating quickly through our community and is very contagious, which has made our cases increase significantly," said Health and Human Service Director Donna Fayko. "We encourage everyone to be even more vigilant right now - wear a mask, test and stay home if you are sick, and try to avoid crowded indoor spaces. The good news is that this variant doesn't seem to cause as severe of illness and the number of people hospitalized also seems manageable at this time, and we want to ensure that continues. We know that there will be highs and lows with this virus, and that COVID-19 is not going away any time soon. Many of you have made the effort to not only protect yourself but also to protect those you care about by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. I want to thank you for your efforts while encouraging everyone to continue taking individual precautions to better manage and mitigate this virus. The most important thing each person can do is be vaccinated and get a booster when you're eligible."
View additional COVID-19 information and data at Health.NHCgov.com.