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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Despite Vaccinations Slowing, Cooper Sticking With Two-Thirds Goal Before Lifting Mask Mandate

Steve Harrison/WFAE
Gov. Roy Cooper talks with Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles on Wednesday during a tour of a vaccination site at MEDIC's headquarters on Wilkinson Boulevard.

Despite the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts slowing, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday he still wants two-thirds of all adult North Carolinians to have at least one dose before lifting the indoor mask mandate.

Cooper made the remarks while touring a vaccination site at MEDIC’s headquarters on Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte.

Just under 50% of North Carolina residents 18 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

When Cooper announced a plan on April 21 to lift restrictions, the state had vaccinated 46.9% of adults.

But the rate of vaccination has slowed greatly, with the state now only vaccinating 1/10th of a percent or 2/10ths of a percent of adults daily.

Cooper said he’s sticking with his original plan.

“We want to keep the indoor mask requirement in effect until we can get to 66% of the population with at least one shot,” he said.

The governor, however, did leave the door open to lowering that goal. He said he would study “trends and data” and that would ultimately guide the state policy.

North Carolina is below the national average for how many people have been vaccinated. The state has vaccinated just under 40% of its entire population with at least one shot. The national average is 45%.

Cooper said the state is still on track to lift all social distancing, capacity, and mass gathering restrictions by June 1.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.