Wake County Public Health Expands COVID-19 Pfizer Boosters for 12- to 15-Year-Olds

Also Offering Additional Dose for Immunocompromised Children

Following approvals and guidance from the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Wake County Public Health will be expanding its COVID-19 vaccine offerings to administer single-shot boosters of Pfizer-BioNTech to everyone ages 12 and up. Parents can begin scheduling this evening, Thursday, Jan. 6, for appointments available as early as Friday and Saturday at all five Wake County Public Health vaccine clinics.

“These new recommendations encourage every teen 12- to 17-years old to get a boost of protection as COVID-19 cases surge within our community,” said Wake County Associate Medical Director Dr. Nicole Mushonga. “As students are heading back to school after the holidays, we encourage all parents to keep them up to date with COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”

Wake County has been administering Pfizer booster doses since September and Moderna boosters since November to anyone 18 years of age and older. In December, Pfizer boosters were approved for teens ages 16 and up. Now, the CDC is expanding those eligible for Pfizer booster doses by recommending booster shots for all vaccinated people ages 12 years and older.

Additionally, the CDC is now recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5- to 11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second shot. Appointments are now available at all five Wake County Public Health vaccine clinics for children eligible for this additional dose.

Who is now eligible for a booster dose?
According to CDC, the following groups are eligible for a booster dose:

  • If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech series at least five months ago, the CDC recommends you get a booster if you are 12 years or older and especially if you are 50 years and older or live in a long-term care setting.
  • If you received a Moderna vaccine series at least six months ago, the CDC recommends you get a booster if you are 18 years or older and especially if you are 50 years and older or live in a long-term care setting.
  • If you received a Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) vaccine at least two months ago, the CDC recommends you get a booster if you are 18 years or older.

Can I mix and match my booster?
Residents 18 years and older will be able to receive any authorized brand of the COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different brand of 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. Only the Pfizer booster has been approved for 12- to 17-year-olds.

NCDHHS and Wake County Public Health encourage individuals to speak with a doctor, nurse or pharmacist if they have questions about which booster is right for them.

How can I get a booster dose?
Those seeking a booster shot can go to any provider that has COVID-19 vaccine, as long as it has been six months after their initial series of Pfizer or Moderna, and two months after their first dose of Johnson & Johnson. Recipients do NOT need to go back to the place where they received the first two doses. All five of Wake County Public Health’s vaccine clinics will be offering all brands, with slots six days a week, include evening and Saturday hours. Walk-ins are no longer permitted. You can also call the N.C. COVID-19 Help Line at 1-888-675-4567.

There is no cost, and no ID, no insurance and no proof of medical condition or employment are required. You must bring your vaccine card. Staff will check the N.C. COVID-19 Vaccine Management System to confirm your vaccination record. You will be asked to self-attest that you are from the eligible populations for Pfizer and Moderna boosters.

What do I need to do after my booster shot? 
Please sign up for V-Safe, a symptom checker that will send you occasional texts to ask you how you’re feeling and allow you to report any symptoms. It’s critically important, and it only takes two minutes to answer the questions. It’s the best way to help keep vaccines safe. Go to vsafe.cdc.gov to sign up.

Even after receiving this booster dose, people should continue follow the 3 W's – wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart from others with whom they do not live and washing hands frequently. They should also avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas.

Wake County encourages everyone to get vaccinated. No-cost COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone five years and older at dozens of providers in the county by appointment or walk-in.

Press Release