From WSJ Staff Reports
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced vaccine providers that are ready to expand may vaccinate all health care workers and anyone 65 years and older.
“Doctors, hospitals and local health departments are working hard to get people vaccinated. There may be a wait, but when it’s your spot, take your shot to stay healthy and help us get back to being with family and friends,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Because vaccine supplies are currently limited, states must make vaccine available in phases. To save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19, independent state and federal public health advisory committees recommend first protecting health care workers, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.
North Carolina moves through vaccination phases by aligning to federal priorities while giving local health departments and hospitals the flexibility to move to the next priority group as they complete the previous one and have vaccines available. With today’s announcement, vaccine providers who are ready may vaccinate adults 65 years and older and health care workers, which will be followed by frontline essential workers, then adults with high risk of exposure and increased risk of serious illness, then everyone. It is the responsibility of all vaccine providers to ensure equitable access to vaccines. This will mean taking intentional actions to reach and engage historically marginalized communities.
“We know that people are doing all that they can to learn about the vaccines so they can make the best decision for themselves and their families. It can be hard to know what is true and what can be trusted. We are here to provide you with honest, factual information,” said Secretary Cohen.
As part of the ongoing effort to educate North Carolinians about the safety, benefits and importance of receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, NCDHHS launched You have a spot. Take your shot. to provide all North Carolinians with information about COVID-19 vaccine development, testing, safety, side-effects and reactions.
A searchable list of health departments and hospitals administering the vaccination is available on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination website, yourspotyourshot.nc.gov. There is a wait time in many areas. Counties are in various stages as they deal with new COVID-19 cases and vaccinations. To support communities, NCDHHS is partnering with health systems, local health departments and community health centers across the state to host large community vaccine events for people currently eligible to be vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free of charge, regardless of whether or not people have insurance. However, most doctors cannot provide COVID-19 vaccines in their office at this time. Individuals who are currently eligible and would like to receive the vaccine must make an appointment with their local health department or hospital.