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If you are vaccinated against COVID-19 and you live in Hampton Roads, you may get a text or call about booster shots. It's not a scam.

Virginia Department of Health officials say they are planning to send out robocalls to Hampton Roads residents overdue for their booster.

NORFOLK, Va. — If you're a resident of the 757 who has gotten vaccinated for COVID-19, it's possible that you will receive a text or a call to remind you that you're eligible for a booster if you haven't gotten one yet.

Don't worry, it isn't a scam. 

According to a representative from the Norfolk Department of Public Health, this is just an initiative that they hope will provide an extra push of encouragement. 

Roughly 5,000 people will receive the text or call in the City of Norfolk. Even if you don't get a message, officials still encourage you to get boosted if you're eligible and stay up-to-date. 

This initiative comes as health leaders across Hampton Roads recognize a growing trend of fully vaccinated people not getting their booster shot in time.

The CDC's latest recommendation says people who received the Pfizer or Moderna shot should get their booster shot five months after their second dose. For the Johnson&Johnson single-dose shot, it's recommended you get boosted after two months.

"A lot of the protocols were changing and there wasn't a clear answer. I think people just didn't make getting a booster a priority, especially if they were not at high risk of serious complications from COVID," Cindy Williams said, the Vice President and Chief of Pharmacy at Riverside Health System.

Williams says that as of mid-January, Riverside Health had about 155 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A majority were not fully vaccinated, but Williams says she was slightly surprised when she saw 41 of those 155 patients were overdue for their booster shot.

She says it's a concern, as the risk grows the longer you wait past your due date.

"We're not talking about a couple of weeks past five months," Williams said. 

"We're talking six months after now the new recommendation for the boosters, so the longer that you get away from that dose, the more your immunity is going to wane and that's going to mean less protection against that severe disease."

Williams says if you're already due for your booster, it's best to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.

But if you need a reminder, VDH says it will potentially send a text or call starting January 26. VDH officials say not everyone will receive the text or call all at once. Their team will be working on contacting people in a thorough process.

If you get a text, it will say the following:

"Virginia Department of Health records indicate you are eligible for a Booster COVID-19 vaccine. To schedule an appointment visit https://vase.vdh.virginia.gov or call (877) 829-4682."

Even if you don't think you are due for a booster at this time, officials encourage you to call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) to make sure. 

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