New Hanover County opens COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Independence Mall

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COVID-19 vaccine given to educators at Trask Middle School on Feb. 24, 2021. (Photo: New Hanover County)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County opened a new vaccine clinic site this week at Independence Mall that can serve more than 500 people with appointments each day.

So far since December, New Hanover County Public Health has administered 47,300 COVID-19 vaccinations in the community.

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“We appreciate the mall partnership in allowing us to use this space to offer a convenient and efficient location for residents to get vaccinated,” said New Hanover County Preparedness Coordinator Diana Vetter Craft, who is coordinating the county’s vaccination sites. “We are committed to vaccinating all of our residents – whether it is at outreach events at churches, small events around town, in neighborhoods, or at larger sites like this new location at Independence Mall. We are actively evaluating the demand for vaccines, our operations and processes, and will continue to ensure that the community has equitable access to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Anyone 16 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine, and health officials encourage all residents to seek out vaccination clinics and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Currently, more than 71,177 people in the county are partially vaccinated (30.4% of the population) and 60,836 people are fully vaccinated (25.9% of the population), according to the NCDHHS dashboard.

COVID-19 Cases  

Over the past week, 302 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in New Hanover County – for a total of 18,367 cases since the start of the pandemic; and of that total, 17,490 people have recovered, and 163 people have died from the virus. The number of deaths from COVID-19 did not increase over the past week, which is the third week in a row that no additional deaths of county residents were reported.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine 

New Hanover County Public Health is temporarily pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine following guidance from the CDC, FDA, and NCDHHS. This pause will not slow the county’s vaccination efforts, because the clinics planned this week are using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

With all three vaccines, it is common to briefly experience a low fever, headache, fatigue, and/or muscle pain. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused after a rare blood clot disorder was experienced by six people (which is a rate of approximately one in a million) who had all received the vaccine.

“These rare occurrences triggered this pause as part of a very robust safety system, and the pause allows healthcare providers to become informed and aware of what to look for and how to treat patients should the investigation by the FDA show any connection between the vaccine and blood clots,” said Public Health Director David Howard. “We don’t want this pause to deter people from getting their vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna are both in supply and available in our community, so please continue to seek out a vaccine because they are proven to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19. Vaccines are our way to get back to the activities and people we love.”

The CDC advises anyone who has received the J&J shot and experiences symptoms like severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks of their vaccination to contact their health care provider immediately.