Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccines

Brunswick County Health Services is now scheduling appointments for all community members aged 16 or older in Groups 1–5

Where Can I get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Below is information about opportunities for eligible individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Some of these opportunities require appointments, so be sure to follow all necessary instructions.

If you do plan or choose to travel to another jurisdiction to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, be prepared to travel back to that jurisdiction for you second vaccine appointment. The supplies a provider is given for second doses is directly tied to the number of first doses it was sent from the NCDHHS in previous weeks.

Brunswick County Clinics (Appointments Required)

All community members aged 16 or older in Groups 1–5 can schedule first dose vaccine appointments the following ways:

  • Schedule online here
  • Call the Public Health Call Line at 910.253.2339

While supplies are increasing, there is still high demand for vaccines. Community members are asked to remain patient as it may still take several weeks to find an appointment spot.

If appointments are not available when you search or call, you are encouraged to check back. Future appointment dates are added weekly based on current allocation numbers the NCDHHS sends to providers. Also, more appointment slots could open each week as cancellations are processed and/or if vaccine allocations from the state exceed expectations.

Ways to Schedule Appointments

Note: Individuals will create an account when they select an appointment slot to receive a confirmation and other notifications about their appointment(s). The online scheduling system is available in English and Spanish.

Public Health Call Line: 910.253.2339

Open Monday through Friday from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays

The call line is experiencing an increasingly high number of calls and emails daily, so wait times to speak with someone or to receive a response may vary.

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Anyone who needs to speak with someone or who does not have access to a computer or Internet can call the Public Health Call Line for assistance with appointments. Health Services cannot schedule appointments in person at the Brunswick County Government Complex.

Need to cancel your appointment? If you get your COVID-19 vaccine at another clinic or jurisdiction, call or email the Public Health Call Line as soon as possible to cancel your appointment. Promptly contacting us allows us to better schedule another patient for the spot, depending on available supplies that week.

The call line is experiencing an increasingly high number of calls and emails daily, so wait times to speak with someone or to receive a response may vary.

Other Vaccination Opportunities

COVID-19 vaccines may be available at the following locations, as supplies are available. Make sure you check with these locations directly for questions about their vaccination process and/or events and to see if you need to schedule an appointment first.

Dosher Memorial Hospital has set upcoming dates for walk-in COVID vaccine clinics, which will include evening hours on Thursday May 13, to accommodate community members who have not been able to make it in the day time. The clinic dates and times are as follows:

  • Thursday May 13, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Friday May 14, 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

No appointment is necessary, and there is no charge.  Dosher is administering the Moderna vaccine, which is authorized for use with adults age 18 and over. Anyone age 18 or older who would like a vaccine is encouraged to attend.

The COVID vaccine clinic at Dosher will be at the back entrance of the hospital, which is accessible by turning at the N. Howe Street/E. 9th Street intersection, or following N. Atlantic Avenue from downtown Southport to the end.

For more information on Dosher’s patient and community information regarding COVID-19, go to Dosher.org/COVID.

Addressing recent recommendations about the J&J Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the recommended pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 24. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is recommending that providers in the state resume administration of the vaccine now that the CDC and FDA have reaffirmed its safety.

Individuals interested in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can check the County’s online scheduling system for appointments using that vaccine.

Who Falls in Each Group?

Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff and residents
  • Health care workers with in-person patient contact
  • Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes and continuing care retirement communities
Group 2: Older adults
  • Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation
Group 3: Frontline essential workers

The CDC defines frontline essential workers as workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and who are at substantially higher risk for exposure to COVID-19

Group 4: Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness
  • Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID-19 such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
  • Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function
  • Essential workers not yet vaccinated. The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, public safety (e.g., engineers) and public health workers
Group 5: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination
  • Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there vaccines that are safe and work in preventing COVID-19?

Yes. Three vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) have proven to provide significant protection against COVID-19 and protect against virus-related hospitalization and death, with no serious safety concerns in the clinical trials.

Who verifies that the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure all food and drugs are safe. The COVID-19 vaccines must pass clinical trials like other drugs and vaccines. The FDA checks the work and authorizes vaccines only if they are safe and effective. Because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people to prevent serious diseases, they’re held to very high safety standards.

The FDA can get vaccines to people faster through an Emergency Use Authorization. After the FDA has authorized a vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) independent advisory committee reviews the data before advising the CDC on recommending a vaccine for use among the general public. Like all vaccines, the FDA keeps checking safety through the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Health care providers are required to report serious side effects, or if someone gets seriously ill with COVID-19. There is also a smartphone-based health checker called V-SAFE that uses text messaging and web surveys to do health check-ins after people receive a COVID-19 vaccination. People can report any problems they may have with a vaccine through V-SAFE.

What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to get a safe COVID-19 vaccine to you quickly during a public health emergency. An independent advisory committee makes sure the vaccines are safe and work before issuing an EUA.

  • Pfizer applied for an EUA on November 20, 2020, the advisory committee recommended authorization on December 10, 2020 and the EUA was approved on December 11, 2020.
  • Moderna applied for an EUA on November 30, 2020, the advisory committee recommended authorization on December 17, 2020 and the EUA was approved on December 18, 2020.
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) applied for an EUA on February 4, 2021, the advisory committee recommended authorization on February 26, 2021 and the EUA was approved on February 27, 2021.
What happens after an EUA is issued?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will review the data and recommend who should be vaccinated based on clinical trial results. This ensures that the vaccine is safe and effective for those who get it.

How much vaccine will the state receive?

Once a vaccine is authorized for use by the FDA, states will receive very limited supplies, at first. The federal government will determine the number of COVID-19 vaccines each state will receive. The amount of vaccine sent to states will be based on the size of the state’s population. 

Will I be able to choose which vaccine I get?

Due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, we strongly recommend people take the vaccine that is offered to them. All three available vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for adults over the age of 16, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for adults 18 and older.

Who will be vaccinated first?

To save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19, independent state and federal public health advisory committees recommend first protecting health care workers, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff and residents

  • Health care workers with in-person patient contact
  • Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes and continuing care retirement communities

Any health care worker with in-person patient contact may now be vaccinated. Hospitals will give vaccines to staff on different days in case they have temporary reactions that may prevent them from working for a day or two. Long-term care staff and residents are also one of the first groups who will receive a vaccine. Most vaccinations at nursing homes, adult care homes and other long-term care settings are being managed by the federal government. However, the vaccines used in long-term care will come from North Carolina’s supply.

Group 2: Older adults

  • Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation

COVID-19 vaccinations are now available to people 65 and older. All people age 65 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated in this group. People 75 and older are prioritized to be vaccinated first, when possible. There is no requirement to have certain qualifying chronic conditions.
Because vaccine supplies are still limited, anyone eligible for vaccination may have to wait.
As more vaccines become available, vaccinations will be offered to everyone who wants one, including in clinics and drug stores, as well as at vaccination evens in communities.

Group 3: Frontline Essential Workers

  • Frontline essential workers are people who must be in-person at their place of work and work in one of these eight essential sectors: critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety and transportation.

Because vaccine supply is still very limited and the population of frontline essential workers is so large, North Carolina will begin with anyone working in child care or in PreK-12 schools starting on Feb. 24, 2021. North Carolina will open vaccinations to other frontline essential workers in Group 3 starting on March 3, 2021. Staff who are 65 and older will continue to be eligible to receive vaccine.

Learn more about who is in Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and Group 4.

How will the vaccine be stored?

We have a plan to store the vaccines safely, so they can be effective. North Carolina is prepared to receive vaccines that require ultra-cold storage or frozen storage as soon as they become available from the federal government. Eleven hospital sites across the state have been identified that have the greatest capacity for ultra-cold storage for the anticipated Pfizer vaccine. Vaccines that require ultra-cold storage will come with packaging and cooling material to meet the storage requirements for sites that do not have permanent ultra-cold storage. The Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage. The state and CDC will deliver training on COVID-19 vaccine storage, handling and administration based on federal recommendations and product information from vaccine manufacturers.

How will staff and residents in long-term care facilities be vaccinated?

The federal government is managing vaccinations for most staff and residents of long-term care facilities, however, those doses will come from the state’s allotment. Long-term care facilities include skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, family care homes, group homes and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The federal government, in coordination with the CDC, has created the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate people in these settings. These pharmacies will work directly with long-term care facilities to provide vaccines separate from the vaccination efforts being coordinated by the state.

Are there side effects from the vaccines?

So far, no serious side effects have been reported. However, people have reported temporary reactions like sore arms, fevers and tiredness 24-48 hours after receiving the vaccine. As a result, vaccinations in prioritized settings, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities, may be staggered. We will have more information on the side effects from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines when the findings from the clinical trials become available. 

If two shots are necessary, how will people know when to get their second shot?

The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines require two doses, given a set number of days apart. It is important to know when a person received the first dose of vaccine, and which vaccine, to ensure they receive the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. The shot you take, and when you need the second dose, is health information that is carefully managed to protect your privacy. North Carolina will use a secure data system called the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to manage vaccinations. When a person gets a first dose, they will be given information on when to come back for a second dose and asked to make a second appointment. They will also be given a card with information about which vaccine they got for their first dose and the date of that dose.

How much will the vaccines cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, whether or not you have health insurance. The federal government will be purchasing the vaccines.

Will people who have been vaccinated still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like the 3 Ws (wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, washing your hands) and limiting gatherings. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination and following the 3 Ws will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

Will people who have been vaccinated still need to be quarantined?

Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on whether people who are vaccinated still need to be quarantined if they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Do people who have had COVID-19 still need to be vaccinated?

Until we have a vaccine available, the FDA releases information as part of the EUA, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes recommendations on how to best use COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC cannot comment on whether people who had COVID-19 should get a vaccine. We don’t know enough to say if having had COVID-19 creates natural immunity or how long that may last. Early data suggests that natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand.

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