RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Though Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is encouraging those who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it’s not clear if a proposed requirement for state employees under his authority to do that will go into effect.
He signed an executive order in early January that would update the requirement to include the booster if the CDC changes the definition of being fully vaccinated to include that additional dose.
Since then, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been asked about the issue but has said multiple times the definition will not change.
Instead, the CDC is encouraging people to stay “up to date” on their COVID-19 vaccinations, including getting the booster shot if they’re eligible. Walensky said that language is in line with how the agency describes other vaccinations.
“And what we are really working to do is pivot the language to make sure that everybody is as up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as they personally could be,” said Dr. Walensky during a recent news briefing. “If you are eligible for a booster and you haven’t gotten it, you’re not up to date and you need to get your booster in order to be up to date.”
CBS 17 asked Cooper about the situation Thursday.
“We’re going to continue to look at that. We’re continuing to creep up in the number of vaccinations,” he said.
Nearly 78 percent of more than 50,000 state workers subject to Gov. Cooper’s current order are fully vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources. Statewide 70 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Cooper encouraged more people to get the booster shots, noting the added benefit they’ve been shown to provide following the initial series of vaccinations.
“They have significantly more protection and they also tolerate an infection by omicron much better than even people who’ve just received the first round of vaccination,” he said.
Some businesses and schools, such as Duke University, are requiring booster shots.
However, when asked if he’ll go forward with requiring state workers to get the booster regardless of what language the CDC uses, it remained unclear if Cooper will take that step.
“Not at this point. Not at this point. But, it’s certainly on the table and the order gives them the ability to be able to do that,” he said.