An increasing supply of COVID-19 vaccines in our state means that starting March 3rd thousands of essential workers will be able to roll-up their sleeves and get the protective shot.
This large group includes – firefighters, law enforcement, grocery store workers, migrant farmers, restaurant workers, postal workers and clergy to name a few.
Governor Roy Cooper said the state’s expedited timeline is due in to the federal government’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“It’s a real advantage that this is only one shot and more easily stored. It’s been shown to be very effective in preventing hospitalization and death due to COVID-19,” said Cooper.
North Carolina expects to receive 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine tomorrow.
“And we’ll be getting 215,000 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, bringing our state’s allocation to almost 300,000 first doses for this week,” said state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.
The state expects to see a lag in Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week as manufacturing ramps up. But the quantity of the one-shot vaccine should be steady by the end of March or early April.
That expectation is allowing North Carolina to plan for those in Group 4 with underlying medical conditions to start making vaccination appointments on March 24th.
State officials clarified at today’s press conference this group includes those with intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, and neurologic conditions, such as dementia.
Next week on March 10, a mass-vaccination center will open in Greensboro. This site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks with a capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day.
State officials are stressing the need for frontline workers to make time to make an appointment and get vaccinated. On Tuesday they rolled out a new public service announcement featuring some of those workers:
As an elected official, Governor Cooper will be able to get vaccinated in the group opening up on Wednesday. He dismissed the idea of shopping for a vaccine with a higher efficacy.
“I’m happy to get any vaccine right now,” said the governor.”The great thing about all 3 of the vaccines that are out there is that all of them are very effective in preventing serious illness and death.”
Dr. Cohen said she would receive the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine later this week.
“These are safe and effective vaccines, I’m glad to be a frontline essential worker, and have access to these vaccines. I encourage everyone when it is their spot in line to get their shot.”
To date, more than 2.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered in our state, with 855,681 people receiving both doses of the vaccine.