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Jenkins optimistic health department will receive Johnson & Johnson single-shot doses

With more than 80,000 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson single-shot coronavirus vaccine set to arrive in North Carolina this week, the Stanly County Health Department is likely to receive a portion of the allotment.

While Health Director David Jenkins didn’t have specifics, he told the county commissioners Monday night he imagined the county will receives some doses “based on the availability” the state received. The county has been receiving the Moderna vaccine from the state, which takes two doses for people to be fully vaccinated.

“From where we stand, the one dose would certainly make it easier getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” Jenkins said.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine received emergency approval by the FDA last week.

Jenkins told the commissioners the health department is expecting to receive 800 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday. It received 1,500 last week, which included 700 that were delayed the week prior due to bad weather across much of the country.

Citing a rare lull in the call volume on Monday, Jenkins encouraged people who want a vaccine, especially those 65 and older, to call the hotline (980-323-0205) to make an appointment.

“I’m not sure if folks are getting their vaccines elsewhere…but it’s really got us scratching our heads,” he said about the decrease in people utilizing the hotline.

Last Saturday, the health department was able to administer first vaccine doses to roughly 460 educators, school employees and child care staff.

The vaccinations were part of a special clinic set up exclusively for people who worked in the school system, who became eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase 3 last Wednesday.

Before then, the state was only vaccinating those in Group 1 and Group 2, which includes health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and anyone 65 years or older. The state expanded vaccine eligibility to Group 3, essential workers, on Feb. 24.

Several school nurses and officials with Atrium Health Stanly assisted the health department with the event.

Aside from a few minor issues, “I’d say it pretty much went flawless,” Jenkins told the commissioners. “We were able to hit a good portion of that group of front-line essential workers.”

Stanly County Schools was appreciative of the mass effort to vaccinate its employees.

“I want to thank the Stanly County Health Department for helping to deploy the vaccines in such an expeditious manner,” Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis said. “Having the vaccine available for all of our teachers will hopefully expedite the full reopening of our schools by creating the safest environment possible for all of our students and staff.”

As of Wednesday, the rest of the people included in Phase 3 are now eligible to receive the vaccine. This group includes first responders and emergency personnel such as police and firefighters, people who work in-person in manufacturing, food and agriculture, grocery stores, government workers and clergy, among others.

Beginning on March 24, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions will become the first within Group 4 who are eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings.

According to the latest NCDHHS data, 8,418 people in Stanly have received the first vaccine dose (13.4 percent of the population) while 4,350 people are fully vaccinated after receiving the second dose (6.9 percent of the population). The county health department has specifically administered 6,096 first doses and 2,638 second doses.
The county department typically administers first doses on Thursdays and Fridays and second doses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Across the state, more than 2.6 million total vaccine doses have been administered. Almost 15 percent of all North Carolinians have received the first vaccine dose.

With an additional 13 new cases since Wednesday, there have been almost 6,600 cases in Stanly since last March. There are seven people hospitalized with COVID-19 while 128 people who had the virus have died.

 

 

 

 

 

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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