RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – This is a big week for COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina. Many providers are doing two weeks worth in one. That’s because North Carolina’s receiving more vaccine doses, along with those delayed last week.
Winter storms both in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country delayed the delivery of millions of doses across the country last week.
“We are just receiving our shipments today and tomorrow for last week,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
Along with last week’s doses now arriving, the federal government allotted North Carolina a 23 percent increase in total first doses this week compared to last. That amounts to tens of thousands of additional shots.
“This is going to be a big week of vaccinating. We’re essentially doing two weeks in one, in addition to doing a lot of second doses,” Cohen said.
Health officials are hopeful as the FDA reviews a third vaccine this week from Johnson and Johnson. Its approval would mean another increase in supply.
Clinics said they’re getting more doses but could still administer more. UNC Health, for example, said it received 10,000 doses this week but could easily do triple that. In fact, it is closing its biggest vaccine clinic, the Friday Center, for Friday, Saturday, and Monday because of it, and rescheduling second-dose appointments.
“I wish we had more vaccine for everyone, but supply continues to be our constraint,” said Dr. Cohen.
Wake County Public Health plans to vaccinate 8,000 people this week. Libby Mitchiner of Raleigh is one of them.
“I feel like I’m making one step forward,” Mitchiner said after receiving her shot. “It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad it’s here now.”
In Connecticut, they’re straying from the CDC recommendations on how to vaccinate people.
“It’s not working in terms of the lens was too big; it was too badly ill-defined,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Instead of occupation, they’re now going strictly by age. Lamont said age is one of the biggest determinations of risk to the virus. They’ve provided a full timeline for age groups and expect everyone to be eligible by the beginning of May.
“I’m not naive. I know there are supply chain issues. We’ll see how fast they actually get delivered to us so we can get the shot in the arm, but if I had to guess, I’d say we’d be erring on the side of more vaccine coming sooner,” Lamont said.
North Carolina has been following the CDC guidelines. The state started vaccinations with health care workers and those 65 and up.
“It hurt just a tad but nothing anybody can’t handle,” said David Rosehart who received his first dose on Monday in Wake County.
North Carolina will then moving through people by occupation. Educators and child care workers are joining the list this week.
More essential workers will be eligible March 10. That’ll add employees in critical manufacturing, essential goods, food and agriculture, government, and public safety and transportation.
North Carolina leaders expect everyone to be eligible by late spring.
“I feel like we’re at least moving in the right direction,” Mitchiner said. “I’m ready to put this whole thing behind us, you know?”
CBS 17 asked the state if it is going to consider providing an entire timeline for eligibility. It provided the current eligible groups. The state was also asked if it’d be feasible to do something like what Connecticut is as North Carolina gets more doses, but it hasn’t provided detail or answered that specifically.
Connecticut is administering more doses per population than North Carolina, but it is, overall, about a third of North Carolina’s population.