Press release from Buncombe County:
Buncombe County health officials encourage the community to take steps now to keep from getting sick and missing days of school and work due to COVID-19. Late last week, Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) received a supply of the new COVID-19 vaccines. As we have seen recent increases in COVID-19 levels, it is important to be fully vaccinated and better protected against the impact of COVID-19.
Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) currently has the following vaccines in stock:
-The updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for insured adults and children and for insured adults and children and for children who are uninsured.
-Updated Moderna COVID vaccine for children age 12-18 who are uninsured or have Medicaid
Other formulations of the updated vaccine have been ordered, but are not yet in stock at the BCHHS clinic. This includes the vaccine supply that can be given to adults without health insurance coverage or with high out of pocket costs as part of the Bridge Access Program.
Between the new vaccine availability and back to school immunizations, the BCHHS Immunization Clinic is very busy and individuals seeking immunizations in our clinic, especially during walk-in hours, may encounter longer than normal wait times this week.
There are several options to get vaccinated locally:
-Walk-in: The BCHHS Immunization Clinic has walk-in hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday between 1-4:30 p.m.
-Appointment: To help reduce wait time, individuals may call (828) 250-5096 to schedule an Immunization Clinic appointment. Appointments are available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm and Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 am – 11:30 am. Please note that we cannot set aside vaccines for individuals with appointments, but we are monitoring our vaccine inventory and will be ordering additional doses of vaccine on an ongoing basis.
-Another option is to go to Vaccines.gov to find local pharmacies that have the updated COVID-19 vaccines in stock. Keep in mind that pharmacists cannot vaccinate children younger than 3 years of age. You can filter the website’s results by location, vaccine type, and age, among other things.
The new COVID-19 vaccine is designed to match the virus, which continues to evolve, and protect people from serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Vaccines are our most powerful tool to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 and other viruses.
We encourage the community to stay safe in the following ways:
-Stay up to date with vaccines by getting the newest COVID-19 vaccine and the yearly flu vaccine in September or early October. The flu vaccine is available for anyone six months and older and can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.
-Seek testing and treatment when needed. It’s important to have a supply of COVID-19 tests which are available for free at Buncombe County Health and Human Services at 40 Coxe Ave., and at many other locations. If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed, you must continue to follow guidelines for isolation and masking. Additionally, contact your healthcare provider if you test positive for COVID-19 and are in a high-risk group to inquire about medication for your illness.
-Practice protective measures such as handwashing, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when sick.
Buncombe County Medical Director, Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, urges the community to take action and says, “Across the nation we are seeing a continued COVID-19 spread. People who receive COVID-19 vaccines are better protected against severe COVID-19 illness, so we encourage everyone to protect themselves with the newest version of the vaccine. We are encouraged by the high volume of clients coming to the Immunization Clinic and we’re doing our best to keep up with the demand. We ask the community to speak to a medical provider with any questions about the new vaccine or call the Immunization Clinic for more information.”