NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As more people become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, a local healthcare system says they’re working to get those eligible in their workforce and community boosters too.
Mary Morin, who is the vice president of clinical effectiveness for Sentara Healthcare, says they’ve been busy getting their employees the third dose of Pfizer but they’re not seeing as many people in their clinics getting theirs.
“The vaccine is so readily available in the community,” she said. “It’s at every retail pharmacy, grocery store, Walmart, Target, and most have incentives if you get the COVID or flu vaccine.”
Sentara Healthcare has given out 5,100 vaccines, according to Morin, with 4,500 being employees.
The other 600 have gone to other community healthcare workers and some eligible patients who are in the at-risk category.
“We’re also vaccinating in-patients. As they come in, we ask about vaccine status and offer the vaccine. If they need the first or second dose, we provide it to them prior to discharge,” Morin said.
They’re anxiously awaiting the end of the month when they hope to hear about the possible third booster shot for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson as well as the Pfizer approval for kids between the ages of 5 to 11.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than seven million people in the United States have gotten their third dose.
Morin says they’ll also be working with other first responders, such as the Norfolk Police Department, to vaccinate those who want shots.
While there’s sometimes been confusion about when people who have had COVID can get their booster, Morin says there isn’t a time frame.
“Early on, it was ninety days, then 30 days, then two weeks. Then, the CDC changed that with the surge of Delta and said if you’re free of COVID symptoms and you’re no longer sick with COVID, get that first dose, second, and of course now if you’re eligible for that booster vaccine,” she said.