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New COVID booster arrives in Meck County; health officials recommend the shot before winter

CHARLOTTE — A new shot to fight COVID-19 is here in Mecklenburg County.

The booster vaccine approved last week to offer stronger protection against the virus has arrived and doctors are asking everyone who is eligible to roll up their sleeve before the fall and winter.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 1,100 new COVID-19 boosters are available in Mecklenburg County to take aim at the omicron variants.

“This booster is the first time that we’ve had an updated type of this vaccine since the pandemic started,” said Katie Passaretti, an infectious disease specialist at Atrium Health.

She said the booster will specifically target and protect against the most dominant COVID strains.

“The more people who get an updated booster that are eligible for it, the better our community level of protection,” Passaretti said.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington said COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases are down and in order to prevent another surge this winter, he’s asking folks to qualify to get a new booster.

Anyone 12 or older who is two months past their last booster or second vaccine dose can get the shot.

“Those who have immunocompromised or haven’t received a booster at all -- those are people who should probably go out more urgently than others,” Washington said.

StarMed Healthcare told Channel 9 they’ll receive 200 of the new booster shots from the county and will start giving them out tomorrow morning at their Tuckaseegee and east Charlotte locations. No appointment is needed and the shot will be free.

The rest of the doses will be spread across the county’s partners and the health department for distribution, Washington said. For now, there is limited supply.

“I do think that there’s probably going to be a little more demand than supply at least here initially,” Washinton said.

Supply is expected to pick up with hopes that people will turn out to get the shot over the next several weeks.

“There are concerns about the upcoming respiratory viral season winter when we’ve traditionally seen surges,” Passaretti said.

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