RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.
What works and what doesn't when it comes to encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19?
A new study in North Carolina shows that offering $25 to people getting their first shot was an important factor. Less successful, however, was the state's rollout of a $4.5 million lottery package that ultimately went to just eight winners.
The report was released Monday by researchers with the state Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They looked at a state pilot program offering prepaid cards worth $25 to people in four counties.
People who want an extra boost of protection against COVID-19 are rolling up their sleeve for the shot in Wake County.
The public health department started offering all three COVID-19 booster shots at its five clinics Monday.
In the first four hours of the rollout, staff running the Wake County Human Services Center on Departure Drive in Raleigh served 56 people, most of them had requested the Moderna booster.
"They want that Moderna dose because they're seeing there's very limited preliminary data from the clinical studies that gives you the biggest boost in antibody production," said Stacy Beard, spokesperson for Wake County Public Health.
The CDC has cleared the way for allowing the mixing and matching of booster shots, so no matter which brand of vaccine you received initially, you can choose which booster dose you get.
For those at least 18 years old who have an underlying medical condition or live or work in a high-risk setting and have waited at least six months since getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you're eligible for a booster.
Anyone 18 and older who got the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine at least two months ago is eligible as well.
"You should find availability at all of our sites," said Beard. "It might not be today, but it'll be this week. We amped up our capacity so that we could deal with the demand that we expected in the first few weeks of boosters being approved for all brands."
You will need to bring your vaccine card with you when you come to your booster appointment.
COVID-19 metrics from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services again showed slight improvements.
Monday's numbers are always lower than other days of the week, but when compared to last Monday's metrics, the improvement is still noticable.
The state added just 1,183 new cases for a daily positive rate of 5.6%. Last Monday those numbers were 1,599 and 6.4% respectively.
In addition, hospitalizations continue to decline. Now 1,527 people are in the hospital battling COVID-19.
Unfortunately, another 102 people died from the virus.
Downtown Raleigh Alliance said its data indicates the economic recovery continues to move ahead.
DRA's third quarter report showed growing sales at stores, restaurants and other businesses.
In addition, downtown's residential market is at 95 percent occupancy, with more than 1,000 residential units are under construction.
Pedestrian traffic downtown increased 17 percent from the second quarter and 126 percent from the third quarter a year ago.
Likewise, food and beverage sales jumped 5 percent from the second quarter and 143 percent from the third quarter a year ago.
You can take a look at the full DRA report here.
MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Cary town leaders are reviewing COVID-19 precautions to see if they should remain in place.
In Cary and across the state, key COVID-19 metrics continue to improve. So people are starting to ask when mask mandates will end.
Cary's mayor said the town is reviewing local data and will make a decision Friday about any possible changes.
The mask mandate is scheduled to expire November 1, so local leaders will need to make a decision this week if they plan to extend it.
One key metric that has not yet shown significant improvements: levels of community transmission. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said counties should have moderate or low levels of community transmission before considering dropping mask mandates.
So far, not a single county in North Carolina has improved its community spread to moderate or low levels.
Meanwhile, Wake County's health department is offering all three COVID-19 booster shots.
Anyone who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines more than six months ago -- and who is 65 and older or at a higher risk for severe disease -- is eligible for a booster shot.
Those 18 and older who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago can get a booster shot.
You can get any of the shots as your booster, as the CDC and FDA have signed off on mix and matching for the booster shot.
Early evidence suggests that booster doses of Moderna or Pfizer more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Tomorrow, an FDA advisory panel is scheduled to discuss recommending the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-12 years old.
So far, the FDA has said the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the minimal risks. If authorized, kids would get a dose 1/3 the size of the adult dose.
Chatham County Schools is rolling out free weekly COVID-19 testing in elementary schools.
Testing will then begin in middle schools November 1 and in high schools November 8.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."