Following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Wake County Public Health is preparing to offer updated COVID-19 vaccines for the fall and winter season.
“Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect ourselves against COVID-19, and these new boosters prove that we can adapt and continue to protect our community from new variants that emerge,” said Susan Evans, vice chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners. “As we head into fall and the holidays, we encourage anyone who is eligible for the new vaccine to make an appointment to get their protection over the next few weeks.”
Wake County Public Health anticipates offering the Moderna doses at all clinics beginning early next week, but a confirmed start date will be dependent on shipment delivery. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get the new COVID-19 vaccine.
Wake County Public Health has vaccination locations throughout the county open five days a week. All clinics will administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are widely available in the community through doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics. Vaccines.gov has a simple tool that allows users to enter their ZIP code and find a vaccine location near them.
Why Get the New Vaccine?
Similar to how flu shots are updated each year, an updated COVID-19 shot can help bolster people's waning immunity as we head into respiratory virus season. The new vaccines approved this week are a much closer match to currently circulating variants than prior vaccines. These new boosters will help protect our residents from serious symptoms and hospitalizations.
“Statewide hospital admissions due to COVID-19 increased more than 29% between the weeks of Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, according to NCDHHS data, with 638 new hospitalizations recorded last week alone,” said Wake County Chief Medical Officer Dr. José Cabañas. “The fall COVID-19 wave is here, but we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and our entire community by getting these new vaccines.”
Those at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19 are highly encouraged to get a new shot this fall. That includes people who are over 65 or have weakened immune systems or certain medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease, obesity, advanced diabetes or kidney disease.
Changes to Vaccine Cost
For the first time since the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out in December 2020, the updated shots will no longer be completely free for everyone.
For residents with insurance, the new vaccines will be billed to insurance but will most likely remain free through in-network providers, similar to the annual flu shot and other vaccines. Those who have Medicaid or Medicare will still receive the shot at no cost.
For those without insurance, the vaccine may be offered for free from Wake County Public Health and pharmacies participating in the CDC’s new Bridge Access Program.
Uninsured children can receive free COVID-19 vaccines through the federal Vaccines for Children program.
Visit Wake County’s multilingual COVID-19 webpage for the latest information on COVID-19. It features a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents, COVID-19 vaccine information, COVID-19 testing information and the most current data on how the virus is impacting our county.