North Carolinians stymied by the lack of COVID vaccines a few weeks ago will soon find that’s no longer a problem.
Starting this Wednesday the vaccine will be available to anyone 16 years and older who wants to get vaccinated.
So far 5.2 million vaccines have been administered across our state with 39% of all adults now partially vaccinated, and 26% of adults fully vaccinated.
Hospitalization numbers and the percent of positive COVID tests have been level over the past few weeks, but every day matters moving forward, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.
“We are making positive progress, but our work is not done yet,” said Cohen in Tuesday’s press briefing.
Dr. Cohen noted that new cases are cropping up in younger people, who are less vaccinated at this point.
“This virus is circulating among those that are not vaccinated, and that’s why we need to make sure we are keeping up our guard,” Cohen cautioned.
“Remember not only is this virus still circulating, but we are seeing changes in the virus itself, that makes it more contagious.”
Plenty of supply
Governor Roy Cooper also acknowledged that the the state may soon be at a point where the availability of Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson& Johnson vaccines exceeds the demand in the some parts of the state.
“Family doctors, ministers, public figures, friends and family members all need to play a role in getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” Cooper said. “We’re going to have plenty of supply. And we need to continue to push up the demand to get as many people vaccinated as possible”
The push to vaccinate more North Carolinians comes as President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that every American adult will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19th.
That’s about two weeks ahead of the previously announced deadline of May 1st.
Vaccine passports still under review
On the issue of vaccine passports – digital proof of vaccination – the governor said the issue is still being reviewed by his administration.
“We are obviously collecting information about people’s vaccinations, so we can track to make sure they got their first shot and their second shot,” said Sec. Cohen.
“We just want to make sure people can access their own information, about that vaccine for whatever purpose they may need. So we are looking at different IT solutions to make that as easy as possible.”
The governors of Florida and Texas have moved to ban such passports, preventing businesses from requiring their customers to show proof of vaccination.
Progress in slowing the spread of COVID: None of North Carolina’s counties are currently red. There are now 21 orange counties, 47 yellow counties, 31 light yellow counties, and 1 green county. In comparison, the previous report posted March 18, 2021 showed1 red county, 17 orange counties, and 82 yellow counties. (Source: DHHS)