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Stay healthy by preparing for seasonal viruses, getting the updated COVID-19 Vaccine

With fall and winter around the corner, now is the time to prepare to protect yourself and your family from seasonal viruses such as influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19.

Currently, This includes the updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for adults and children with health insurance and for children who are uninsured. Children ages 12-18 who are uninsured or who have Medicaid are eligible for the Moderna vaccine. Other formulations of the updated vaccine have been ordered, but we do not yet have them in stock. This includes the vaccine supply that can be given to adults without health insurance coverage as part of the Bridge Access Program.

We have seen a high demand for COVID vaccination in our clinic since we started administering the vaccine late last week. Between the new vaccine availability and back to school immunizations, the clinic is very busy. As a result, individuals seeking immunizations in our clinic, especially during walk-in hours, may encounter longer than normal wait times this week.

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.

To help reduce their 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 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.

"Like the annual flu shot, the fall COVID-19 vaccine provides the most up-to-date protection against the COVID-19 virus and will help us prepare for seasonal viruses that disrupt our lives,” says Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and NCDHHS Chief Medical Officer. “We encourage everyone to talk with a health care provider about all recommended vaccines. Protect your family so you can enjoy the activities, sports, school and time with loved ones this fall and winter.”

Last month, North Carolina and the nation saw increased COVID-19 metrics through hospital admissions, emergency department visits, and the early warning wastewater monitoring system.

Because of this, we encourage community members to protect themselves through three ways:

Stay up to date with vaccines:

  • Get the updated 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.
  • Talk with your doctor about the new RSV vaccine to protect people 60 years and older and the new monoclonal antibody for infants to protect against RSV.
  • There are many locations to get vaccines, including your doctor’s office, pharmacies, and at the Buncombe County Health and Human Services Clinic at 40 Coxe Ave. in Downtown Asheville.

Seek testing and treatment when needed:

  • 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.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu and are in a high-risk group, contact your healthcare provider who may prescribe medications to treat your illness.

Practice protective measures:

  • Wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home when sick.

Buncombe County Immunizations Clinic
40 Coxe Ave., Asheville

When: Call (828) 250-5096 to make an appointment or visit during 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.
Cost: There are fees for adult immunizations with some offered for free to those who qualify. Children may be eligible to receive free vaccines if they qualify for the Vaccines for Children program. The state will also receive a limited supply of free vaccines for uninsured or underinsured adults through the federal Bridge Access Program. These vaccines will be distributed to safety net providers like Community Health Centers and local health departments and to pharmacies participating in the Bridge Access Program.

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Updated Sep 25, 2023 05:22 PM
Published Sep 25, 2023 10:05 AM