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North Carolina officials approve third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised people

Hospitals and health departments throughout the Triad are now offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Hospitals, pharmacies, and health departments in the Piedmont Triad are now offering a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with compromised immune systems.

On Monday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services approved the third dose for people with compromised immune systems following the Food and Drug Administration's approval last week. There are a variety of conditions that the Centers for Disease Control classify someone as "immunocompromised."

The Forsyth County Health Department, Wake Forest Baptist Health, and Novant Health will all be offering the third dose. CVS and Walgreens also have the shot. Walgreens is by walk-in only. CVS said you will need to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card. 

This extra dose is for those who have qualifying conditions and received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 28 days ago. Health experts say there is not enough data yet to support a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC does not recommend you mix and match doses.

You can find a vaccine location in North Carolina here.

WFMY News 2 talked with health departments in Rockingham, Alamance, Davidson, Randolph, Davie, and Wilkes County about if they would be offering the shot. Most of them said they were waiting on the state's approval before moving forward.

Dr. PJ Miller with Wake Forest Baptist Health says this dose is identical to the previous two doses of Pfizer or Modera so it's not what is traditionally known as a "booster." He said, while things may appear to be changing fast, it's a good thing.

"The CDC is reacting to data in real-time and that could be a lot of the reasons why things seem to be changing rapidly as we obtain more data," said Miller. "Recommendations not only become expert opinion based but they become the true factual base. And that could come across as things are changing but overall things are changing for a positive, safer way to protect people."

Dr. Miller said you should talk with your doctor before going to get the third dose.

“These recommendations will likely continue to change as we obtain more information and more data," Miller said. "With these new guidelines on a third dose for those that are immunosuppressed, additional information could come out that more individuals need this third dose, or even potentially less individuals fall into this specific category.”