Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — On January 27, North Carolina reported administering 99 percent of its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and on Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked the state as sixth in the nation for total doses administered, 12th for first doses administered per 100,000 people, and 17th for total doses administered per 100,000 people.
“North Carolina vaccine providers have done a phenomenal job serving the people of our state. This is incredibly hard work, and they’ve shown that they are both up to the task and committed to partnering in new ways so that we vaccinate North Carolinians as fast as possible. These national rankings are the result of the strong work of our entire vaccine team,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen.
The state was also recognized by the Washington Post as being one of only three states providing thorough reporting on vaccine administration by race. The state’s dashboard will be updated every weekday beginning next week. It is the source for the most accurate and timely information for vaccine data for the state.
To provide vaccine providers with as much stability as possible given the constraints of the federal allocation process, NCDHHS shared with vaccine providers a new two-part allocation process, composed of a “baseline allocation” and a “set-aside allocation.” Allocations prioritize geographic equity and ensuring access to vaccines for older North Carolinians and historically marginalized communities, while continuing to expect that all doses are used the same week. The goal is to vaccinate as many people as quickly and equitably as possible with very limited supply of vaccines.
For the next three weeks, the state is guaranteeing baseline vaccine allocations to providers. Approximately 90,000 “baseline” doses are allocated based on population data from the State Center for Health Statistics to provide vaccine to all 100 counties. The 55,000 “set-aside” doses of the state’s allocation are going to:
♦ Counties with higher numbers of people 65 and older with low income, counties with higher numbers of historically marginalized populations 65 and older, and counties that received less doses per population in previous weeks.
♦ New vaccine providers who will provide greater access to rural and underserved communities and those who can provide vaccine to long-term care facilities not participating in the federal program.
♦ Community vaccination events geographically spread throughout the state. Decisions about events are based on equity, readiness and speed, and partnership.
Vaccine supply continues to be very low. There may be wait times. North Carolinians can find out when they will be eligible to get their vaccine through the online tool, Find My Vaccine Group. The screener walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they are in. People can then sign up to be notified when their group can get vaccinated. North Carolina is currently vaccinating people in Groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and people 65 and older.
Until the country begins to get ahead of the pandemic, the CDC says everyone should keep wearing a mask, waiting at least six feet apart and washing hands often.