Unvaccinated likely to catch COVID-19 every 16 months, UNC Charlotte study finds

Friday, October 22, 2021
Coronavirus NC: Latest updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina
Coronavirus NC: Latest updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.

2:57 p.m.

CVS announced that select CVS Pharmacy locations are now offering the Moderna COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations beginning Friday.

These are the guidelines set by ACIP and CDC for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNA primary series
  • People aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNA primary series
  • People 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNA primary series, based on their individual benefits and risk
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNa primary series

Patients interested in receiving a COVID-19 booster or their initial vaccine series are encouraged to make an appointment at CVS.com or the CVS App.

"The systems we've built and our deep experience in providing vaccinations allows us to play a leading role in administering booster shots to eligible populations," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health. "We also remain focused on providing easy and convenient opportunities for the unvaccinated to receive their first doses."

12:55 p.m.

COVID-19 metrics in North Carolina, like much of the rest of the country, continue to improve.

New data from NCDHHS showed a 500 case drop from last week to this week, with 2,609 new cases being reported today.

The daily percent positive rate also fell to 4.1, the lowest it has been since July.

A total of 1,693 people remain hospitalized with the virus, but that number dropped 70 from yesterday and its the sixth day the state has reported fewer than 2,000 people hospitalized.

Another 69 people lost their battle with COVID-19, increasing the virus' death toll in North Carolina to 17,765.

12:39 p.m.

The Johnston County Public Health Department will begin offering COVID-19 booster vaccines for patients who received Pfizer, Moderna or the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on Monday at 9 a.m. People wo want the shot should bring their COVID-19 vaccine card.

12:22 p.m.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will receive their COVID-19 booster shots at the NC State Fair at 1:30 p.m.

Cohen received the J&J vaccine when she became eligible to get vaccinated in March 2021. She and Troxler will receive a Moderna booster shot at the fair.

12:20 p.m.

The North Carolina Zoo started vaccinating its animals against COVID-19 this week.

Primates were first on the list, as they are genetically very similar to humans and often get many of the same diseases.

The zoo announced back in July that it would be getting an experimental vaccine to use on the animals.

10 a.m.

Unvaccinated people will likely catch COVID-19 once every 16 months, according to a new study out of UNC Charlotte.

The durability and effectiveness of natural antibodies against the COVID-19 virus has been one of the most debated and misunderstood elements of fighting the pandemic.

Researchers out of UNC Charlotte looked at other human-infecting coronaviruses as well as SARS-CoV-2 and analyzed the durability of immunity and time it would take to likely be reinfected.

Their findings, published here in The Lancet, found that the average unvaccinated person could expect to catch COVID-19 every 16 months.

The study authors said that suggests public health measures should remain in place for an extended period of time.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, reinfection is likely to become increasingly common. Maintaining public health measures that curb transmission-including among individuals who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2-coupled with persistent efforts to accelerate vaccination worldwide is critical to the prevention of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality."


5:20 p.m.

Despite an increase in the percentage of cases attributed to vaccinated North Carolinians, data shows the vaccines are still highly protective against hospitalization and death.

In the week ending October 9, 22% of COVID-19 cases were in people who had already been vaccinated. However, experts expect this number to increase as more people get vaccinated because the pool of unvaccinated people will be smaller and the virus is still spreading with high community transmission throughout the state, according to the CDC. As of Thursday, 66% of North Carolina adults are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Overall, unvaccinated North Carolinians are more than four times more likely to get sick from COVID-19 than vaccinated North Carolinians and 19.51 times more likely to die from an infection, after adjusting for age.

Since January 1, 9% of COVID-19 cases and 6% of deaths have been in vaccinated individuals.

Just 1.6% of the nearly 5.2 million North Carolinians vaccinated as of October 9 got sick with COVID-19 between January 1 and that date. About 0.01%, or 1 in 10,000, vaccinated North Carolinians have died from COVID-19.

On average, just over 17% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were previously vaccinated. Less than 12% of post-vaccination hospitalizations end up in the ICU.

12:20 p.m.

More good news coming out of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. COVID-19 metrics continue to show gradual improvements.

Today, just over 3,000 new cases were reported. That's slightly higher than yesterday, but down more than 700 from Thursday last week and down more than 1,700 from Thursday two weeks ago.

The daily percent positive rate likewise dropped again--down to 5.1% this week from 5.9% last week and 6.4% two weeks ago.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus fell by 48 from yesterday--down to 1,763.

Unfortunately, another 56 people lost their battle with the virus.


Christmas is back on in Garner. The town revived the traditional Christmas parade just a week after canceling it.

This will be the first time in two years that the parade happens. Last year it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the year before it was called off because of threats of violence.

This year's parade is scheduled to happen Dec. 18 on Main Street in downtown Garner. Applications are now open, if you'd like to volunteer.

In less than a week, the FDA will consider the approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children. But before then, state and local health officials are working to inform parents and prepare for the rollout.

Wake County leaders scheduled a specific "Ask the Doc" event focusing on children and COVID-19. That will start at 7 p.m. Thursday.

It will involve a panel of local pediatricians and health experts taking your questions live on Facebook and YouTube.

Click here for more details.