Gov. Cooper talks COVID-19 numbers, vaccine distribution

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — On Tuesday Gov. Roy Cooper stressed the power and importance of words, both in terms of the violence at the U.S. Capitol building last week and misinformation spread about COVID-19.

Cooper also said it’s important to focus on the truths: COVID-19 is spreading fast, people need to follow safety protocols, and vaccines are a safe and effective way to save lives.

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The NC Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with 14 health systems, local health departments, and community centers in 13 counties to set up large scale vaccination events.

They expect to distribute 45,000 vaccines with those events, but Cooper says there is some concern about eligible people turning down the vaccine.

“We are particularly concerned about people who are turning down the vaccine who are staffing our long term health care facilities,” Cooper said. “Vaccine supply across the country is severely limited, but the goal for us here to distribute as quickly as possible all of the vaccines given to North Carolina by the federal government.”

While vaccinations may be on the rise in our state, new data from the CDC suggests our state is the 6th slowest in the country for vaccine rollout. Cooper says part of the problem is constantly changing guidance from the federal level.

“I just got off the phone with Vice President Pence and the coronavirus task force and for the first time, it was put forth that states should look at not only 75 and older for the first traunch after healthcare workers working with COVID-19 patients, but then move to age 65-74.”

Cooper said the state had not yet decided whether it would follow these new guidelines.

NCDHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen added that in the last week, vaccinations have increased by 113 percent compared to the week before, with more than 100,000 doses given in the last seven days.