Brunswick County offers updated COVID-19 boosters for everyone aged 12 years and up
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County Health Services is now offering updated boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible community members aged 12 years and older.
Following the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement last week, eligible community members across North Carolina can now receive an updated booster to protect against the latest COVID-19 variants.
People should get the updated COVID-19 booster two months after they finish their primary series or any booster dose. Brunswick County’s actions are based on recommendations from the CDC, FDA, and evaluation by NCDHHS.
The updated booster is referred to as a bivalent vaccine as it targets both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. As of mid-August, these subvariants made up nearly 90% of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. The new bivalent vaccine relies on safety and efficacy data from initial clinical trials, studies of bivalent boosters, and extensive safety and effectiveness monitoring. This process is similar to the one used to create the annual flu vaccine, which targets new strains each year. People aged 5-11 years can still receive the original booster, but it is expected that the updated booster will be approved for younger people soon.
What you need to know:
The authorized bivalent COVID-19 vaccines, or updated boosters, include an mRNA component of the original strain to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and an mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
The BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant are currently causing most cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and are predicted to circulate this fall and winter.
Based on the data supporting each of these authorizations, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are expected to provide increased protection against the currently circulating omicron variant.
Individuals who receive a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine may experience side effects commonly reported by individuals who receive authorized or approved monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
With the bivalent vaccine authorization, the monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized as booster doses for individuals 12 years of age and older.
Who is eligible to receive a single booster dose and when:
Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the bivalent Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they completed primary vaccination or received a previous monovalent booster dose.
Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they completed primary vaccination or received a previous monovalent booster dose.
The booster, like all COVID-19 vaccines, is safe to get alongside the annual flu vaccine. People should get their flu vaccine as early as possible to build up immunity before the virus becomes widespread in late fall and winter.
COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Insurance is not required, but you are encouraged to bring your ID and insurance cards, if available.
Upcoming Pop-up Clinics
Brunswick County Health Services is offering two pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics inside Indian Trail Meeting Hall on Sept. 15 and Sept. 28 in Southport and one clinic inside Town Creek Park Community Building on Sept. 21 in Winnabow for anyone aged 6 months and up.
Appointments are not required for September pop-up clinics. The vaccination clinics follow the state guidelines for a clinical setting and require everyone to wear masks.
Clinic staff will accommodate requests to vaccinate individuals from their vehicles for anyone who may have mobility issues or prefers not to enter the building for any reason.
If you need curbside assistance, please have someone with you who can come to one of the vaccination staff on site to let them know you are there and that you need curbside assistance. This will allow staff to make the arrangements needed to register you and vaccinate you via curbside service.
Brunswick County Health Services offers the following vaccines at these clinics:
First and second doses for everyone aged 6 months and up**
Third additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna (mRNA) vaccines for the immunocompromised
First booster vaccines (eligible for everyone aged 5-11 years who have completed a primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech)**
Updated boosters (eligible for everyone aged 12 years and up)**
Health Services will have all vaccine types—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen, and Novavax—at these clinics. Those aged 6 months–17 years are eligible for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech versions of the vaccine only.
**Health Services requires written permission from a parent/legal guardian to administer vaccines to those aged 6 months–15 years and boosters to those aged 5–17 years. Those aged 5–11 years are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech version of the booster only. Those aged 12–17 years are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech version of the updated booster only. If someone else brings your child to these clinics, complete a consent form to send with them. To access our consent forms before attending a clinic, visit brunswickcountync.gov/vaccines or download one of the following forms:
More information about pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics is at brunswickcountync.gov/covid19clinics.
Appointments for eligible individuals aged 6 months and older are still available at Brunswick County Health Services main clinic in Bolivia. Individuals and/or parents can book appointments online or call the Public Health Call Line:
Schedule online here
Call the Public Health Call Line at 253.2339 (Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays)
More information about COVID-19 vaccines is at brunswickcountync.gov/vaccines.
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