Wake County Public Health encourages everyone ages 12 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine – it’s safe and easier than ever. There are three vaccines available, free of charge: : Pfizer-BioNTech (ages 12+) En español, Moderna (ages 18+) En español, and Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+) En español
Wake County Public Health has five vaccination locations open six days a week, including weekends and evening hours. Check out the schedule below. Moderna and Pfizer (Comirnaty) are available at every clinic. Johnson & Johnson is offered at community events.
The Pfizer COVID-19 booster dose is now available for those at the highest risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
Questions about boosters
Before making a booster appointment, find your Vaccine Card and make sure you know the dates of your first and second COVID-19 vaccinations. PLEASE BRING YOUR VACCINE CARD to your appointment.
There are dozens of vaccine providers in Wake County in addition to Wake County Public Health. To find other locations near you, visit Vaccines.gov
Need a ride? Call GoWake at 919-212-7005 for a ride share, including wheelchair assistance. Or call 1-844-771-RIDE for the United Way vaccine program.
Get Vaccinated at Home
Call the NCDHHS At-Home Vaccination Hotline at 1-866-303-0026.
|Wake County Human Services Center
5809 Departure Drive, Raleigh
8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
|Wake County Public Health Center
10 Sunnybrook Road, Raleigh
Wake County Northern Regional Center
350 E. Holding Ave., Wake Forest
|Monday & Friday
8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday
9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
|Wake County Southern Regional Center
130 N. Judd Parkway NE, Fuquay-Varina
Wake County Eastern Regional Center
1002 Dogwood Drive, Zebulon
|Tuesday & Thursday
Wednesday & Friday
8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
We understand you may have questions about the vaccine. That’s why we created the FAQ below to help provide you with answers. The vaccination process is constantly changing, and so may our responses over time. We encourage you to check this site regularly for the latest updates.
General Vaccine FAQ
Who can be vaccinated now?
Everyone 12 and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina.
At this time, Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for those under 18 years old. Wake County Public Health is offering Pfizer in all of its clinic and community pop-up events. People 15 and under will need parental consent.
Pick a convenient appointment at a Wake County Public Health location near you by clicking here. Or find other providers in Wake County at Vaccines.gov. You can also call our Vaccine Hotline at 888-675-4567.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Wake County Public Health is one of many providers in Wake County receiving shipments of the vaccine. Find a vaccination location near you at NC Vaccine Finder.
All providers are working closely together to vaccinate the public against COVID-19 and help keep our community healthy and safe.
Do I still need to wear a mask after I'm fully vaccinated? Can I gather with other vaccinated people?
A vaccine alone won’t stop the spread of COVID-19 right away. Still, it's a major tool in preventing serious illness from COVID-19 and needs to be used in combination with other prevention methods.
The vaccines have been proven to effectively prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. However, it’s still possible that some vaccinated people could get infected. This means people who are vaccinated could be spreading the virus, especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.
It is important to remember that children under 12 cannot be vaccinated and are still at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should:
- Wear a mask when in public indoor spaces and when in large crowds.
- If you have been around or exposed to someone who has COVID-19, get tested 3-5 days after exposure.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
For up to date information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services on mask wearing visit Face Coverings and Masks | NC COVID-19 (ncdhhs.gov).
Why are third doses of COVID-19 vaccine needed?
As of August 16, 2021, Wake County Public Health began administering an additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine today to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems who already received two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna.
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised make up about 3% of the adult population and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.
Studies indicate some immunocompromised people don’t always build the same level of immunity even after getting both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna. Additional studies show that fully vaccinated, immunocompromised people account for a percentage of hospitalized “breakthrough cases,” and that suggests these people are more likely to transmit the virus to others in their home.
Who can get a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
Who can get a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
You should talk to your healthcare provider about your medical condition to determine whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for you. The CDC recommends third doses to:
- Cancer patients undergoing active treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;
- Organ transplant recipients who are taking medicine to suppress their immune systems;
- Stem cell transplant recipients who are less than two years out from their transplant and taking medicine to suppress their immune systems;
- Anyone with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
- Anyone with advanced or an untreated HIV infection; and
- Anyone receiving high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response.
The CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time, including those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA and CDC continue to analyze data and will provide further guidance on this issue as needed.
How can I get a third dose?
You can walk into any of Wake County Public Health’s vaccine clinics or events. Appointments are not needed for third doses. Walk-ins should not expect to experience long wait times. A third dose needs to be given at least 28 days after a second dose and should be the same brand as the first and second dose.
Will I need to bring medical records or proof of my weakened immune system?
No. When you arrive at a clinic, our registration staff will find your vaccination record in the NC COVID Vaccine Management System, or CVMS, to ensure you received both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna. You can also bring your vaccine card. Then, you’ll simply be asked to attest or declare that you are immunocompromised by signing a digital form.
What do I need to do after my third shot?
Please sign-up for V-Safe, a symptom checker that will send you occasional texts to ask you how you’re feeling and allow you to report any symptoms. It’s critically important, and it only takes two minutes to answer the questions. It’s the best way to help keep vaccines safe. Go to vsafe.cdc.gov to sign up.
Even after receiving this additional dose, people who are immunocompromised should continue follow the 3Ws - wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart from others they do not live with and washing hands frequently. They should also avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas.
What kind of side effects do the vaccines have? Will I need to take time off work?
Some people report temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as swelling from the injection, tiredness or feeling bad for a day or two. These are normal symptoms and a sign of a proper immune response, similar to those experienced when receiving other routine vaccinations. These reactions typically last no longer than a day and a half. You cannot become infected with COVID-19 from receiving the vaccine. Please consult your primary care physician if you have any concerns about the way you’re feeling after vaccination. View more information here.
Can I pick which vaccine brand I receive?
Yes, Wake County Public Health does show you the expected brand(s) of vaccine offered at each site when you're making an appointment.
All the approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective in reducing death and serious hospitalization from COVID-19.
It is important that people do not mix vaccine brands. Receiving the second or third dose of the same vaccine as your first dose is important for achieving the vaccine's total protection. Your vaccine provider will help you determine if you need a second dose and how/when to come back to get full protection. Most common side effects are injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and fever. Side effects are more common after the second dose, especially for younger adults.
The goal is to increase vaccination rates so our community can slow the spread of COVID-19 and get back to life.
How much will a COVID-19 vaccination cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, whether or not you have health insurance. The federal government is purchasing the vaccines. Just like Wake County Public Health continues offering no-cost COVID-19 testing, we will be working to make sure everyone has equal access to the vaccine, as well.
If I already had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes, you should get vaccinated whether you've had COVID-19 or not.
Sometimes after being infected by a virus, your body builds up a “natural immunity” by making its own antibodies. But right now, there’s not enough information available to confidently say if being infected with COVID-19 creates any protection from getting it again. Early evidence suggests that natural immunity to COVID-19 may not last very long, so that's why it's recommended that everyone get a vaccine, even if you've tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered.
If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
It is safe to get vaccinated if you have been infected in the past. Additional information can be found here for the COVID-19 vaccines.
Is the vaccine safe for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant now?
The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 than non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe COVID-19 illness.
There is growing evidence about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Scientists have found no safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or their babies. There is no increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The vaccines do not cause infertility or have other long-term effects.
Vaccine side effects primarily happen within six weeks of a dose. That's why the FDA studied people who receive the vaccine, including pregnant people, for at least two months after the last dose to watch for any side effects. Listen to this great response from a vaccine researcher at the Vaccine Education Center.
I don't like needles. Is there any other way to vaccinate me against COVID-19?
Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is only available as a shot. Talk to a doctor, nurse or medical professional about your fear of needles. Many people report being afraid of needles, but they weigh the benefits of feeling that brief prick against getting sick if they contract COVID-19. When you get vaccinated, it not only protects you, it protects our community by breaking the chain of infection that COVID-19 relies on to spread.
Should my child get the vaccine?
Children 12 and up have been approved by the FDA and CDC to receive the Pfizer vaccine under an emergency authorization. Additional studies are underway for children under 12 years old.
Is there a new, more dangerous strain of COVID-19?
Mutations in viruses, including the coronavirus which is causing the COVID-19 pandemic, are neither new nor unexpected. There are several additional strains and there will likely be more as this pandemic progresses. The more people infected by COVID-19, the more chances there are for mutations to occur. That's why getting vaccinated and following the 3Ws continue to be our best defense against exposure, infection, and the evolution of new strains.
Our state has increased the number of specimens it regularly submits to the CDC for genetic sequencing, which detects new strains and vaccine sensitivity. The vaccine manufacturers are testing their vaccines against the new strains and will develop new boosters as needed.
How Can I Get the Vaccine – FAQ
I want to get my vaccine at a Wake County Public Health site. How do I do that?
- Immediately be able to see the available locations, times and vaccine brands offered by Wake County Public Health. Right now, only Pfizer is authorized for those 12 and older.
- You'll receive an appointment confirmation.
- You'll also receive an separate email from North Carolina’s COVID Vaccine Portal to complete your registration with the state. Completing this quick form in advance will speed up your check-in process at your appointment. If you don't get this state email, don't worry – we'll take care of our state registration when you arrive for your confirmed appointment.
- It will also help if you can show us your appointment information (which should include a barcode/QR code) when you arrive. You can print out or simply show us a picture on your phone or in your email on your smartphone. This will help speed you through the check-in process.
If I receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, how can I make my second appointment?
You should immediately get an email after your first shot or staff will be available on-site to help you make an appointment for your second dose of vaccine. You should be provided with a vaccine card where staff will write the date of your second appointment.
If you don't make an appointment while you're here with us, the best way to check availability and get your second appointment is to call 888-675-4567. We’ll do everything we can to ensure you don’t miss your second dose.
We are regularly adding appointment times.
If I show up without an appointment, can I get the vaccine?
With the approval of Pfizer booster shots, Wake County has moved to appointments only to ensure anyone seeking a first, second, or third dose has reserved slots. As demand lessons, we hope to re-open to walk-ins.
Who should get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster?
The booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is for those who:
- Received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months ago
- Are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness
According to the FDA and CDC, the following groups should get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second Pfizer dose:
- Adults 65+
- Residents of long-term care settings
- People 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
And the following groups may get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second Pfizer dose if they have considered their personal risks and benefits:
- People 18-49 with underlying medical conditions
- People 18-64 who live or work somewhere that puts them at high risk of getting COVID-19
These recommendations are ONLY for those who received the original two-dose series of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has not authorized booster doses to those who received a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. Both of those manufacturers have submitted data on boosters to the FDA and there will be more information in the coming weeks.
People should talk to their healthcare provider if they have any questions about whether a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot is appropriate for them.
Please find your vaccination card now, use it to make an appointment and BRING YOUR VACCINE CARD WITH YOU for your appointment. If you are six months out from your second shot of Pfizer, go online now and find a slot at WakeGov.com/vaccine.
When should people get the booster shots of COVID-19?
The boosters are recommended 6 months after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The boosters are for those most at most risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
The only people who need a booster at this time, are those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. If you received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you do not need a booster at this time.
Is it safe to get a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine dose at the same time?
Yes. The FDA and CDC have determined it is safe to get both a COVID-19 dose and flu shot at the same time. Get your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and it’s recommended you get a flu vaccine before the end of October. If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with a health care provider.
Why do we need the booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine?
For some viruses, the protection we get from a vaccine starts to wear off over time. An additional dose of the vaccine may be needed to boost your immune response and make sure you are protected from the virus. Boosters are common for many vaccines, like the Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis).
In the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA and the CDC agree that there is data to show that there may be reduced effectiveness six months past the second dose for those people most at risk for severe COVID-19. Getting the Pfizer booster is just one more way to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Will I need to bring medical records or proof of health condition or employment to get a Pfizer booster dose?
No. No doctor’s note/prescription or other documentation is needed. Please just bring your vaccine card with you. When you arrive at a clinic, our registration staff will confirm your vaccination record in the NC COVID Vaccine Management System, or CVMS, to ensure you received both doses of Pfizer with the second dose being at least 6 months prior. Then, you’ll simply be asked to attest or declare that you are qualified by signing a digital form. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for individuals seeking a booster dose.
Why are boosters not available for people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have submitted data and research to the FDA requesting authorization to recommend a booster dose. However, the FDA and CDC have not made a decision yet. Therefore, booster doses of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are not authorized at this time.
How is the booster dose recommendation different from the third dose recommendation for the immunocompromised?
The booster dose has only been approved for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and must be administered at least six months after the completion of the primary Pfizer vaccine series. The booster shot must be from the same manufacturer as the first two doses and has only been recommended for specific eligible groups.
The third dose for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised has been approved for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine AND Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and must be administered no earlier than 28 days after a second dose. The third dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first two doses.
Please talk with your medical provider if you have any questions about your eligibility and to see if a booster dose is right for you.
What medical conditions make me eligible for a Pfizer booster?
Per the CDC, people with certain underlying medical conditions are eligible for a Pfizer booster. Eligible groups include individuals who have been diagnosed with:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension)
- HIV infection
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
- Liver disease
- Overweight and obesity
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Smoking, current or former
- Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
- Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
- Substance use disorders
Please talk with your medical provider if you have any questions about your eligibility.
When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?
Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster dose as more data becomes available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However, the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly mutates. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.
How was the decision to approve Booster Shots made?
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully examined the latest data. Data was gathered from a clinical trial that showed a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine increased immune response in those who completed a primary series six months ago. Additionally, data showed that while vaccines remained effective among adults 65 years and older, recent evidence suggests they are less effective in preventing infection or milder symptomatic illness due to waning over time and the Delta variant. Emerging evidence also shows that among health care and other frontline essential workers, vaccine effectiveness is waning.
If we need a booster, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?
No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease. A booster shot will help provide continued protection against severe disease in the populations who are especially at risk.
What are the risks to getting a booster?
For many who have completed their primary series with Pfizer vaccine, the benefits of getting a booster shot outweigh the known and potential risks. So far, reactions reported after the third Pfizer dose were like that of the two-dose primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the two-dose primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.
Does this change the definition of “fully vaccinated” for those eligible for boosters?
People are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-shot series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine. This definition applies to all people, including those who receive an additional dose as recommended for moderate to severely immunocompromised people and those who receive a booster.
Can you explain the recommendations related to people 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions, and people 18 to 64 who may be exposed due to occupational/institutional setting? How are these different from the other two recommendations?
Adults aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, that risk is likely not as high as it would be for adults aged 50 years and older who have underlying medical conditions. People aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot if they feel it is needed. People 18 and older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or their occupational exposure risk, should consider their individual risks and benefits when making the decision of whether to get a booster. Occupations that are considered high risk by the CDC include: first responders, healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff, teachers, school support staff, daycare workers, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, prison or jail staff, postal workers, public transit workers, grocery store workers. This recommendation may change in the future as more data becomes available.
Can I go anywhere for my booster dose?
You can go to any provider that has Pfizer vaccine, if it has been six months after the initial series of Pfizer vaccine. You do not need to go back to the place where you received your first two doses of the series. To find a vaccination provider near you, please visit, Vaccines.gov. Or to make an appointment with Wake County Public Health, go to WakeGov.com/vaccine.
Am I still able to get a first dose or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to be Wake County’s priority. We have purposely reserved appointment slots for those of you still seeking to get a first or second dose. Just go to WakeGov.com/vaccine to schedule your first or second dose today!
What else can I do to stop the spread of COVID-19?
Everyone regardless of vaccination status should wear a mask indoors in public to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others. These recommendations are based on Wake County’s case rate which determines the Level of Community Transmission as defined by the CDC. Face masks are required in some health care facilities and on public transportation. Wearing a mask is the best way to slow the spread when around others outside your household. The two biggest risks are social gatherings and public dining, which bring people together who are not usually together. Keep your bubble of contacts as small as possible and do not let your guard down.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet at all times.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice proper respiratory etiquette, including coughing and sneezing into the back of your elbow or into a tissue. Immediately throw away the tissue and wash your hands.