DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — “It’s very important for me to have the booster, and to make sure everyone I know is vaccinated. I lost a very good friend I worked with just last week to COVID,” said Pat Shelton, after getting her booster shot.
Shelton and her neighbor were two of 200 people Thursday who rushed to schedule an appointment at the Midway United Methodists Church in Lexington to get their third COVID vaccinee shots.
“I went online and signed up immediately because I knew they would get through very quickly,” Shelton said.
That was true, Wednesday was the first day of third-dose clinics in the county, and all 200 slots were filled in a matter of hours.
Thursday and Friday, the same story.
“We were able to fill about 200 appointments each day,” said Janna Walker, public health strategist for the Davidson County Health Department.
Walker wasn’t sure what turnout would look like.
She says with appointments filling up fast, it shows people are looking for an extra layer of protection.
“Those folks are mainly the older generation, and so they are very cautious, and I’m glad they are taking us up on the opportunity to get the extra dose. And then those folks working in high-risk settings. We have seen teachers, people that are in a lot of exposure to other people, and there’s not a lot of control in those settings, getting extra protection, or boost in their immune system,” Walker said.
180 appointment slots have already been filled for Saturday’s booster clinic at the Davidson County Health Department.
With the high demand for third shots, all hands are on deck.
“We are very fortunate that we do have support staff from the state that we were able to request, and they help us out tremendously with administering the vaccine, and people who could do the data entry as well from the state. We are using our staff from different divisions within the health department to try to balance things out,” she said.
As of now, those eligible include people 65 years or older, and those 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions who originally received the Pfizer vaccine. Those working on the front lines are also eligible, like health care workers, teachers, first responders, and grocery store workers.
Health leaders say although the response has been positive for those eligible for third shots, they still want to stress the importance of getting the first two shots.
“It’s still very dangerous for those who have not been vaccinated at all. We want everyone to understand the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Yes, you can still get COVID, but it will greatly reduce the risk of death, and ending up in the hospital,” Walker said.
Health leaders say they’re trying to stay a week ahead on inventory and will ask for more from the state if needed.
They say to keep an eye on their website, and social media to find appointment openings.