Dr. David Priest
Dr. David Priest

Following emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Novant Health has begun administering a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people who qualify.

Eligible individuals are advised to wait at least six months following completion of their primary Pfizer-BioNTech series. The booster dose may be given at any point after that time.

Dr. David Priest, Novant Health chief safety, quality and epidemiology officer, offers the following guidance. As always, contact your doctor with specific questions about your condition.

Who is eligible for a third dose?

People can schedule an appointment with Novant Health (regardless of where they received the Pfizer vaccine series) if they meet the below eligibility criteria as outlined by the FDA:

  • People 65 years and older.
  • Residents in long-term care settings.
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions.
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

How will you verify my eligibility? Is identification required?

Individuals self-identify and attest to their eligibility status. You will not be asked for any identification or proof of residency. Insurance is not required, however patients are asked for insurance information if they have it for filing of the administration of the vaccine purposes only.

Should I bring my proof of vaccination card?

Yes, please bring your vaccine card. Physical cards and photos of cards will be accepted. If you have lost your vaccination card, and you did not receive your previous doses with Novant Health, you should contact the site where you obtained your vaccine series to confirm the product you received and dates.

If you have lost your vaccination card, and you did receive your previous doses with Novant Health, we will be able to access your records and issue a replacement card.

I've had a breakthrough case. When can I receive a booster?

Fully vaccinated individuals who tested positive for COVID are advised to wait until their symptoms are improved AND are out of the quarantine period. Typically, this is about 10 days.

Where can I get my third dose?

The following locations will accept eligible individuals by appointment only:

  • Novant Health Medical Group – Hanes (196 Hanes Mall Circle, Winston-Salem, NC 27103) is open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Novant Health Medical Group – East Mecklenburg (6070 East Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28212) is open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Novant Health Medical Group – Huntersville (17220 Northcross Drive, Suite 110, Huntersville, NC 28078) is open Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Novant Health Medical Group – Salisbury (J.F. Hurley YMCA 828 Jake Alexander Blvd. W Salisbury, NC 28147) is open Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Select Novant Health primary care clinics.
  • Retail pharmacies and others also will offer booster doses.
  • If an individual is seeking a more convenient time or location they can visit the NCDHHS location finder, here.

How can I schedule an appointment?

While walk-ins are accepted for first and second doses at most permanent vaccination sites, people who need a third dose are required to make an appointment at all locations. Note, you do not have to be a Novant Health patient to schedule an appointment. Ways to schedule include:

  • MyChart: MyChart is the best way to schedule an appointment. Anyone can create a MyChart account by visiting MyNovant.Org. Appointment availability can be accessed under Visits --> Schedule an appointment --> COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • GetVaccinated.org: Anyone can schedule an appointment online.
  • Primary care clinics: established patients are able to call their primary care clinic to schedule an appointment at that clinic, if it is offering the vaccine, or at the nearest Novant Health vaccination site.
  • Those who do not have access to the internet or a primary care provider can call 855-NH-VAC-4U (855-648-2248) for scheduling assistance.

There is a way out of this.

Your shot

Is the third dose any different from what was in the original first two shots?

No. It's the same as the products that people were given before.

Is it free?

Yes. All COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone, including people without insurance.

What if I received Johnson & Johnson or Moderna?

If you did not receive the Pfizer vaccine or complete that series, we ask that you do not schedule an appointment at this time. There is not enough data currently to support getting a Pfizer booster if someone has previously received a Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine.

Moderna has submitted data to the FDA for approval of a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, and more information is expected in the coming weeks.

Can you get the booster dose at the same time as your flu shot?

Yes. You can receive COVID-19 vaccines the same day as other vaccines.

Should I receive Pfizer-BioNTech or Comirnaty?

The FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the same formulation as the FDA approved Comirnaty, and the vaccines may be used interchangeably.

What's the timing for the third dose?

People who qualify are advised to wait at least six months following completion of their primary Pfizer-BioNTech series. The booster dose can be safely administered at any point after that time.

Is the vaccine really working?

  • As we've preached from the beginning, the reason we need to get people vaccinated and to take precautions is that the longer we let this drag out, the more likely one of those variants is going to arise, and it's going to be more difficult to deal with. So, it behooves us to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
  • Remember, early in the pandemic, the typical COVID patient might infect two or three other individuals around them. But with the Delta variant, they're likely to infect five to nine individuals around them today.
  • Over 99% of those who are vaccinated have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death. We also know that 96.7% of COVID deaths this summer occurred in unvaccinated individuals. The vaccine remains incredibly effective at keeping you out of the hospital, and it tells us that we should all get vaccinated to protect those around us who are not yet eligible (kids under 12), or immunocompromised and need further protection.