The Wilkes County Health Department will offer booster shots of the Pfizer-COVID-19 vaccine to eligible people in a mass clinic from 8 a.m. to noon Friday at Lowe’s Park at River’s Edge in Wilkesboro.

According to the health department website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the booster shots for the following groups of people at least six months after they were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

• people at least 65 years old;

• residents of long-term care facilities;

• people ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions;

• people ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions;

• people ages 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional settings.

People who received the Moderna vaccine aren’t eligible for a booster vaccine at this time, the health department stated.

The health department announcement said people are asked to not arrive at the clinic prior to 8 a.m. or after 11:30 a.m. Friday. The white vaccine card given when vaccinated and a copy of an insurance card should be brought. The health department will verify eligibility.

Eligible people can schedule an appointment for a booster shot, which is free, by calling 336-990-9950 or 336-651-7450. They can also schedule it online by going to the health department website at https://wilkescounty.net/199/Health-Department.

Dr. Christopher Ohl, infectious disease expert at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, cited poultry plant workers as an example of people in workplaces where COVID-19 exposure is well-documented.

During his weekly update on COVID-19 on Facebook on Sept. 23, Ohl said data show that COVID-19 vaccines are still highly effective.

He said that according to the latest data, a vaccinated person’s risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 (including the Delta variant), is .005% and risk of death is .001%.

Ohl said he was privy to some of the discussion during a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on booster vaccinations the prior week.

He said the value of large numbers of people getting booster vaccinations was questioned in the meeting.

“Robustly immunizing half the population and not having the other half immunized doesn’t really gather you any traction against the pandemic. It’s the number of people in the total pool that makes the difference,” he said.

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