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Health
Coronavirus news and updates about the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Cooper Mobilizes National Guard To Help With COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

COVID-19 vaccine
Courtesy Atrium Health

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper has mobilized the state’s National Guard to help local health providers in administering vaccinations.

Cooper said in a tweet Tuesday that getting the vaccine administered quickly is a top priority and “we will use all resources and personnel needed.”

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, 109,799 people in North Carolina have received the first dose of the two-shot vaccine as of Tuesday; 461 have received the complete vaccine series.

Another 165,990 vaccination doses have been allocated to long-term care facilities, and are managed by the federal government; 13,338 of those doses have been administered as of Monday, according to data provided to NCDHHS.

The first-does total is less than 1% of the state's population. And data as of Monday accumulated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked North Carolina as sixth-worst among the states in per capita first-dose vaccinations.

Hospital workers were the first in line to receive doses and some remain unvaccinated due to limited supply. Several counties will soon begin administering doses to elderly people 75 years or older.

Although North Carolina health officials have been slow to get doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines into residents’ arms, there are similar problems in other states.

Federal health officials had hoped that 20 million doses would be shipped and distributed by the end of December, but they fell short of that. The CDC said Tuesday that more than 17 million doses had been distributed, and 4.8 million people had received a first dose.

Cooper’s action comes as health officials report 5,285 new confirmed cases Tuesday — nearly 100 more than Monday.

And with a test positivity rate of 16.2%, the number of tests coming back positive is much higher than the ideal rate of 5% that officials want to see.

Hospitalizations statewide are also up with a fourth consecutive daily record of 3,781 people being treated for the virus Tuesday.

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