COVID-19 Updates: All 18 and older can get vaccine boosters; What is the Omicron variant?

Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Public Health Department is providing the following updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccination.

Data Update

As of Tuesday, November 30th:

  • More than 7,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Chatham County since the beginning of the pandemic, and 98 residents have died due to the virus. Chatham County continues to experience substantial transmission of COVID-19.
  • More than half of Chatham County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 20% of children ages 5-11 have gotten their first dose of the vaccine.
  • To date, the Chatham County Public Health Department has administered more than 8,100 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the county, including booster shots.

Boosters Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all adults aged 18 and older get a COVID-19 booster. If someone received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they should get a booster at least 6 months after completing their two-dose vaccine series. If they received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they should get a booster at least two months after getting the one-dose vaccine. Eligible people can get any of the authorized vaccines as a booster shot.

“There are many local options to get your booster dose, including walk-in options,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek. “With cases creeping up as we move into colder weather, a booster dose is an easy and effective way to add protection against the virus.”

The decision to recommend booster shots for adults is based on studies showing that they work well to increase protection against COVID-19 that may weaken over time. For example, a North Carolina-based study found that vaccine protection against symptomatic vaccine decreased after 7 months, though protection against hospitalization and death remained high. Another study found that those receiving a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot had similar protection against illness as they did shortly after receiving their second dose at 95% vaccine efficacy.

“Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays,” stated CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose.”

Learn more about COVID-19 booster shots at

Omicron Variant

A new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was discovered in southern Africa late last month. Now called the “Omicron” variant, this version of the virus is still relatively new and public health experts are working quickly to answer important questions, including if it is more contagious than other variants and how well current vaccines and treatments work against it.

Right now, the Delta variant is the source of nearly all COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. But like other variants, there is a good chance Omicron will land in the state in the future.

“While we are eager to know more about Omicron and how it might affect us locally, the best strategies we can take to protect ourselves and those around us remain the same: Get vaccinated, including a booster shot, and wear a mask in indoor public spaces,” added Zelek. “The Omicron variant emphasizes the importance of these simple actions. We’ve seen that vaccinations have worked well against other variants, including saving many lives during the spread of the Delta variant.”  

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit To learn more about the Chatham County Public Health Department, visit or