RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – About half the people getting their COVID-19 vaccine in recent weeks in central North Carolina are under 18 years old.

Health experts said it’s a surge they expected to see, but they’re working to keep the numbers strong.
Both the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Wake County Public Health are making sure to help get vaccines in the hands of pediatricians, which can make kids and their parents feel more comfortable getting it.

Kaylin Mckoy, 14, received her first dose of vaccine on Tuesday through Wake County Public Health.

“I was nervous, but I didn’t feel it,” said Mckoy.

Part of the reason she got it was her mom, but also her friends.

“Most of my basketball friends, they say they got it,” said Mckoy.

She can’t wait to see them and their faces back on the court.

“I can do what I love without having to have a mask on now,” she said. “I’m just glad I got it.”

Mckoy is part of more than 30,000 people ages 12 to 17 to get their first shot in Wake County.

Over the past two weeks, about half of people getting vaccinated in Wake County have been under 18.

“We’re excited, but we want to kind of wait and see what the data shows here in the next month or two,” said Ryan Jury, mass vaccination branch director for Wake County.

Along with giving shots to kids, Wake County Public Health has allocated doses to pediatricians.

“It just seems relevant now to partner now and work with certain providers that can provide the vaccine in a setting that may feel more comfortable for individuals. In this case, it’s pediatricians,” said Jury.

Dr. Emili Mack is one of them.

“It gives me a lot of hope,” said Mack, the owner of Mack Pediatrics. “I do want the kids to feel comfortable going back into the school environment and going back to their families, so it was good to offer that for them.”

She said not only have the kids been thrilled to get it, but parents have also unexpectedly changed their minds about getting it themselves seeing she can administer them.

“I think the best service I can do for those younger kids right now is helping their reluctant parents get vaccinated,” Mack said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, about 200 kids have gotten their shots in Wake County so far this week, which is about the third of the total kids to get it in the state this week.