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Gov. Cooper discusses COVID-19 vaccination guideline changes

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 10:35 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Only six states are slower than North Carolina when it comes to distributing COVID-19 vaccines according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On Tuesday, the CDC changed its guidance regarding to whom the COVID-19 vaccine should be given. Now, it suggests people age 65 and older should be prioritized along with any adults with underlying health conditions that might have increased risk for complications of COVID-19. That age is down from previous guidance suggesting 75 and older.

While the federal government believes it could speed up the process, Governor Roy Cooper shared his concerns.

“One of the continuing problems we’ve had with the federal government is that they have continued to shift their advice on what the priorities for the vaccine should be,” said Gov. Cooper at his weekly COVID-19 update. “We all know that there are severely limited amounts of vaccines. Manufacturers are making them now. But we have known from the get-go that we would need to prioritize vaccines.”

Governor Cooper says that the state will work quickly to look over the new guidelines before making any changes to how the state is rolling out the vaccine.

“We want to make sure that we have that criteria changed if we’re going to...before we move into the next group,” said Gov. Cooper. “I know Dr. Cohen and her advisory committee will work very quickly to make sure we adjust our recommendations accordingly.”

Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state’s top priority was getting vaccine into all 100 counties. She said today she’s says happy with how most are giving out the vaccine.

In her opinion, Dr. Cohen believes only a small number could do better and she says the state is ready to help.

“There are still others that still have vaccine and we need to support them in getting that out,” said Dr. Cohen. “Whether that, as the governor said, is expanded hours, if it’s answering the phones, if it’s checking folks in, if it’s actually delivering the vaccine, we want to be helpful.”

Dr. Cohen said in the coming weeks the state is also setting up ten mass vaccination clinics across North Carolina that will add 45,500 vaccinations a week to the state’s totals.

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