Wake County groups fight vaccine hesitancy as boosters could become available for more people

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the FDA looks to expand booster shots to more people, some groups are still encouraging others to get their first dose.

Sunday, El Pueblo worked with health providers to host a vaccine clinic near food trucks, music and a family fun festival.

"A lot of them worry that it's going to have a lot of side effects," said Illiana Santillan, El Pueblo's executive director. "I know a lot of our community members fear that it's gonna make them miss a day of work."

Attendees wore masks for extra protection and offered COVID-19 testing, even for vaccinated individuals.

"We know COVID is on the rise," Santillan said.

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Wake County's five permanent vaccine distribution locations have added additional staff and expanded their hours. Walk-in appointments have been suspended--only people who make an appointment for a first, second or third dose will be seen.

"I think at some point it is likely that everyone is going to need a booster," said Dr. Mark McClellan, a professor at Duke University. "But the good news is that the vaccines are very protective, so you're not at high risk if you have been vaccinated. This is not something you need to worry about right now."

Booster shots are only approved for people who are immunocompromised. However, the FDA will likely decide this week whether to authorize boosters for people at high risk of severe disease, people older than 65 years old and frontline workers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's independent advisory group will meet Wednesday and Thursday for additional discussions about booster doses. At that point, Santillan hoped she would be able to encourage more folks to come back and get a third dose.

"We'll be able to tell folks about the booster shot and just make sure that people understand what you just mentioned about the age range," said Santillan. "So we're hopeful that community members will come here, get a lot of information."

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