CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Novant Health officials said that on Tuesday, every single COVID-19 patient who was on a ventilator across their system was unvaccinated. As cases and hospitalizations slowly trend downward, doctors say the one statistic remaining consistent is most patients have not been vaccinated.
Of the people hospitalized who have been vaccinated, doctors say the majority are older or have underlying health conditions. That is who is due for a COVID-19 booster shot.
Novant Health started giving the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters on Tuesday. The Pfizer booster shot has been approved for a little over a month and the health system said they’ve given 24,000 booster doses of Pfizer. They are preparing for any surge in demand now that all three products are approved by the CDC and FDA.
Some people are feeling the same rush as they did at the beginning of the year when the shots first became available to the public.
“We got our first shots as soon as we could get them, and we got these shots as soon as we could get them,” Kelly and Richard Stevens said after getting their third doses.
The Pfizer and Moderna shots are approved for older people, those with underlying health conditions, and people who are at risk of getting exposed to the virus on the job.
But the CDC said all 15 million Americans who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot should go get a booster, data shows it doesn’t give the same level of protection as the two-dose mRNA vaccines.
“When you get two doses of the mRNA vaccine and you’re under the age of 65 in particular, you’re very well protected still -- even with delta -- from hospitalization and death,” Dr. David Priest with Novant Health said.
Otherwise, Dr. Priest said only older people and those at a higher risk should be rushing to get to a clinic.
Just because some populations need a bump in protection, younger, healthy and already vaccinated people should feel confident and safe.
“The standard we’ve placed on these vaccines we’ve never put on vaccines before. People demand they must work 100% of the time and I should never even get a light case of COVID,” Priest said. “No other vaccine works that way. We have to consider occasionally there will be times someone gets a mild breakthrough case.”
Priest also said mixing and matching is okay, but people who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine can stick with the same brand without “selling themselves short” of any extra protection.
People who got the Johnson & Johnson shot definitely need to get a booster, he said, and choosing another brand is a reasonable choice.