More choosing to mix vaccines as different variants emerge

Coronavirus

CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Unfortunately, business is booming at StarMed.

“We’ve actually increased our vaccination amounts by over 200% in the last couple weeks,” said Chief Medical Officer at StarMed, Dr. Arin Piramzadian.

Dr. Piramzadian says they’re seeing an increase in first timers getting the vaccine as the holiday approaches.

“My wife had COVID,” said Avery Covington who was getting the COVID vaccine for the first time.

“She was cold all the time and she had a lot of coughing, but she had pneumonia also, so her breathing was kind of labored,” he said.

The lines at StarMed are indicative of the trends: more people getting tested for COVID and receiving antibody therapy than those getting the jab. Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says 35% of those who got the vaccine came back for the booster shot.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Harris said, “and I think people are paying attention even more because of the new variant.”

Pfizer’s recent claim that its booster protects against the Omicron variant, however, gives her pause.

“We got to remember that Pfizer is the entity making the vaccines, so they want us to know that their vaccine is working,” Harris said.

As the virus changes, people around the world are hoping the vaccines hold up, but they’re also covering their bases, and many are choosing to mix and match their doses.

“I’d say about 70% who are coming for their boosters will actually pick a different vaccine,” Dr. Piramzadian said.

Mixing and matching vaccines are not only safe, but doctors also say there’s a benefit to it. Each vaccine has its range of coverage, and the idea is if someone takes different vaccines, they cover a wider range to account for any variant that might come next.

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