GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Gaston County is announcing a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for residents age 75 and older.
Gaston County launched a new tool to help residents get in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now at www.gastonsaves.com/covid19vaccine, residents in the 1A or 1B categories can register for a COVID-19 vaccine. This is being brought online to alleviate some of the strain on the County’s COVID-19 Vaccination Registration hotline, which saw significant demand in its first three days of use.
That hotline number is 704-866-3170. County employees will continue to staff the hotline during the week starting at 8 a.m. and will be available each day until 5 p.m. Staff has been responding to thousands of voicemail requests Wednesday and Thursday.
Gaston County’s Public Health, Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management Department are preparing for vaccination clinics for the county’s elderly population and others who qualify for early vaccines.
Officials say the clinics will offer vaccinations to any Gaston County resident 75 years or older beginning on Friday, Jan. 8 at the Gastonia Farmer’s Market.
In addition to those 75 and older – classified as being in 1B, Group 1 according to the state categorization – those individuals who are part of the 1A grouping who did not already get vaccinated are welcome to attend Friday’s clinic.
Group 1A includes frontline health care workers and first responders who have direct contact with individuals who are potentially COVID-positive, as well as long-term care facility residents and staff.
Gaston County officials say they plan to continue hosting weekly vaccination clinics as doses are made available. Future locations and times will be announced as they are finalized at GastonSaves.com.
“We have arrived, as a community, as a state and a nation,” shared Public Health Director Steve Eaton. “The biggest game-changer in terms of a pandemic is a vaccine. Both the people giving the vaccine and receiving the vaccine are part of history here in Gaston County.”
Frontline essential workers are also a part of the 1B distribution, but are slated to be vaccinated after residents who are 75 years and older, as officials say there is not enough vaccine currently available to handle this entire group at once.
The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.
Those frontline essential workers who are 50 and over will be offered the vaccine first, followed by those frontline workers of any age.
GastonSaves.com will contain updates on where Gaston County stands on the vaccination group schedule.
Even with the rollout of the vaccine to the initial groups, Eaton warned that Gaston County is seeing its highest levels of hospitalizations and percent positivity rate since the pandemic began.
He urged residents to double down on mask wearing and avoid gatherings with members outside of your own household.
“While we are thrilled to have vaccinations on hand and be providing them to our community, it will take some time to vaccinate enough people to see the full impact. We have to continue doing our part to prevent the spread.”