The Denton County Public Health Department is offering Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster shots starting this week as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Matt Richardson, the county’s public health director, told Denton County commissioners Sept. 28 the county is offering the booster shots for free. The county is sending emails and/or text messages to eligible people who received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the county. Those people are invited to schedule a booster dose of the vaccine. They do not need to re-register with the county, Richardson said.

People who have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine elsewhere may sign up to get a booster vaccine from the county, according to Richardson.

He said the booster shot is available only to those who received the Pfizer vaccine. The county is not mixing vaccines, he said. Those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines will have to wait to receive a booster, he said.

According to the CDC, people eligible for a booster shot include those age 65 and older, and those 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions, or live or work in high-risk settings.

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Richardson said that the number of new coronavirus cases in the county is starting to decline compared to several weeks of increasing cases. The county reported 665 new cases of COVID-19 on Sept. 27.

“We’re not out of the woods, but we do see some improvement,” Richardson told commissioners.

He also noted that the percentage of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Denton County hospitals is decreasing. The percentage reached its highest level since the start of the pandemic on Sept. 6 with almost 33% of patients hospitalized having COVID-19, data showed. That percentage has since dropped to 22% on Sept. 27, he said.

“We are improving countywide,” he said.

The county operates two free drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinics each week. The next available clinic is on Sept. 30 in Lewisville. To register for the clinic or to find a testing site that is not offered through the county, click here.