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Denton County now offering COVID-19 Pfizer booster shots to certain groups

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Article Originally Published by Samantha Thornfelt on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Samantha Thornfelt on North Texas Daily

Denton County Public Health has begun the process of scheduling people vaccinated within the county for their COVID-19 Pfizer booster shots.

Denton County Judge Andy Eads advised DCPH-vaccinated individuals to check emails and texts from the county regarding vaccine eligibility and scheduling, according to a DCPH press release.

“We’re working with private providers as well as our health department to make sure our residents have access to vaccines — from first doses to boosters for eligible folks,” Eads said.

Appointments at primary care providers and pharmacies across the county will be available for those who received their second Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eligibility criteria. This includes those 65 years or older, those above 18 with underlying medical conditions or those over 18 who live and/or work in high-risk settings.

Eligible individuals who have received both doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine from non-DCPH providers can receive a booster shot from their previous provider or are able to join the waitlist on the DCPH vaccine interest portal. Those who were vaccinated by DCPH should not rejoin the portal waitlist.

DCPH Public Information Officer Jennifer Rainey said the county hopes to see a decline in COVID-19 cases as a result of booster doses. She said DCPH is additionally still encouraging unvaccinated persons to schedule their first and second doses to further decrease the spread.

“We really want those that have been on the fence to get vaccinated, but these boosters being available to those who are at high risk is also a benefit,” Rainey said.

The university has already placed an order for the Pfizer booster shots and should receive the supply within the next week, said Kerry Stanhope, assistant director of Meadows Center for Health Resources.

Stanhope said a registration portal is currently being built for eligible members of the campus community to sign up for appointments once they are available. The portal will collect necessary eligibility information, such as the individual’s role on campus, verification of the dates their previous vaccines were administered and whether or not they received the Pfizer vaccine.

Once appointments are scheduled, the doses will be administered in a mass clinic model similar to what was set up on campus during the spring 2021 semester. Individuals will check directly into the clinic at the scheduled time for their vaccination appointment.

“The hope is that if we provide these booster shots, it will reduce the spread, especially for people who are most at risk of fatal consequences of COVID,” Stanhope said. “If we can isolate those groups that are most at risk, as well as those groups that are in most contact with people, we might be able to lower our positivity rate here on campus.”

COVID-19 booster shots are currently only available for those who received the Pfizer vaccine. However, the Food and Drug Administration has scheduled meetings for later this month to discuss the use of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster vaccines. The panel will discuss the authorization of widespread use of these vaccines.

While the CDC has not yet recommended the Pfizer booster for all age groups and health risk levels, some on campus feel that the rate of infection can decrease if those who are currently eligible receive the booster. 

“I believe in the vaccine and think it’s the most beneficial thing for the public,” finance sophomore Ryan Waters said. “It’s in my personal best interest to get it, and if [others] are comfortable with it I would prefer they get it too.”

Though many on campus are not yet eligible to receive the Pfizer booster, Stanhope said there are still many ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks and limiting time spent in group settings can reduce the likelihood of infecting other people, as well as getting infected by someone else. Stanhope also encouraged campus members to get tested regularly as breakout cases continue to occur among vaccinated individuals.

“You don’t need [to get tested] every day, but maybe it’s something you do every week or every couple weeks,” Stanhope said. “That’s going to help us identify cases quicker, reduce that spread and help protect everybody here on campus.”

More information regarding on-campus testing and vaccination appointments can be found on the university’s health alerts website.

Featured Image: The on-campus testing site administered by Curative, Inc. stands near Maple Street on Oct. 5, 2021. Photo by Zachary Thomas

Source: North Texas Daily

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