County health departments along the coast continue to encourage residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, such as the Pfizer, which the Food and Drug Administration gave its full approval Monday.
The FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, commonly called the Pfizer vaccine, in individuals 16 years of age and older, according to the announcement. The vaccine had been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, but will now be marketed as Comirnaty.
President Joe Biden called the approval a milestone in remarks Monday and pleaded with the unvaccinated to get the shot. Biden explained that the FDA , through an independent scientific review, had found the Pfizer vaccine safe and effective.
“So let me say this, loudly and clearly, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who said that they will not get the shot until it has full and final approval of the FDA, it has now happened. The moment you’ve been waiting for us here. It’s time for you to go get your vaccination. Get it today.”
Vaccines continue to be available under emergency-use authorization, including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock in a statement.
“Our scientific & medical experts conducted an incredibly thorough and thoughtful evaluation of this vaccine,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Although we approved this vaccine expeditiously, it was fully in keeping with our existing high standards for vaccines in the U.S.”
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement that vaccines are the most important tool in the fight against COVID-19.
“All authorized vaccines have met rigorous testing and scientific standards. Millions of North Carolinians have been safely vaccinated, but for some people full FDA approval provides additional confidence. If you are not vaccinated, we urge you: please don’t wait to vaccinate,” Cohen said.
In addition to the two-vaccine series, some health departments are offering third shots to those who are moderately to severely lmmunocompromised, or are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more al risk of serious, prolonged illness.
Those with compromised immune systems may not build the same level of
Immunity to two-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromlsed, according to Albemarle Regional Health Services. The additional dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series.
The CDC recommends that individuals with the following receive the third dose:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to
- suppress the immune system.
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome,
- Wiskott Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.
The Albemarle Regional Health Services, which serves residents in Pasquotank, Perquimans, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties, will begin Monday accepting appointments for third dose vaccines for moderately to severely immunocompromisesd Individuals in the eight-county region. Residents are to call their county’s health department to schedule an appointment. ARHS will continue to provide first and second doses of Moderna and Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson, at each of the local health departments to residents 12 and older.
The Beaufort County Health Department will begin offering the additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday to those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, the county announced. To receive the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer vaccines, the Beaufort County Health Department has appointments available beginning Wednesday as well. Call 252-940-6150 or book online.
Brunswick County health officials opened an additional pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic Saturday in Shallotte for anyone 12 and older another opportunity to get vaccinated, especially as most schools begin to reopen. Additional third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for moderately to severely immunocompromised people are to be available Tuesday. Brunswick Health Services will have the three types of vaccine at each clinic. Anyone aged 12 and older is eligible to receive vaccines, however those aged 12-17 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only. Appointments are not necessary at the pop-up clinics. COVID-19 vaccines are free and insurance is not required. Book appointments at Brunswick County Health Services’ main vaccination clinic at 25 Courthouse Drive, Building A, Bolivia, either online or call the Public Health Call Line to schedule. Appointments are still required at the main clinic and must be made either online or over the phone.
Dare County Health and Human Services continues to encourage those 12 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccination available at the health department and many area pharmacies.
The Hyde County Health Department is also providing the additional dose of Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination to those that qualify. Call 252-926-4467 to schedule an appointment.
New Hanover County Public Health vaccine clinics began offering the third doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to immunocompromised individuals. Dates and locations for Public Health’s vaccine clinics may be viewed online. New Hanover County Health and Human Services has also issued a countywide order requiring face coverings be worn in all indoor public places that went into effect Friday.
The Onslow County Health Department is still offering all three brands of vaccination on a walk-in basis or appointments can be scheduled online.
The Pender County Health Department is offering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to ages 18 and older, Pfizer to 12 and older at the health department, 803 S. Walker St., Burgaw, and the Annex Building, 15060 U.S. 17, Hampstead, during the week.
Martin-Tyrrell-Washington District Health is offering vaccines for those 12 and older. Call 252-793-3023 to schedule a vaccine appointment at one of the offices in Plymouth, Williamston and Columbia.