As North Carolina moves to Phase 1B Monday, South Carolina’s timeline slower

Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 6:50 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Vaccination efforts in North Carolina are moving forward in a matter of days.

Under phase 1A, health care workers and nursing home residents can get the vaccine.

As of today, South Carolina has more than 30 percent of phase 1A vaccinated. That includes healthcare workers and those living and working in nursing homes. North Carolina has more than 20 percent.

Anyone 75 and older can get a vaccine in the next phase. Healthcare and essential workers are also included under that first group. Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris says the state will give instructions on how to go about it soon.

”We know it’s going to be more challenging for them to sing up for it. The state’s website isn’t easy to use,” says Harris.

Another challenge Harris mentioned is trying to get people vaccinated overall. Phase 1B will not be without setbacks.

”It’s frustrating and extremely tiring but it’s all offset by the hope that this brings,” she says.

Group two includes any of those workers who are over 50. This means teachers, first responders and grocery store workers. Then follows the rest of the healthcare and essential workers.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Dr. Mandy Cohen says the state is having to break this next phase into groups because there is not enough to vaccinate everyone immediately.

”Our job right now is to make sure we get the vaccines from the federal government to people who are high priority as quickly as possible,” says Cohen.

South Carolina is also vaccinating the 75 and older group, but at a slower pace.

”The state will move to Phase 1B when at least 70 percent of South Carolinians in Phase 1A have been vaccinated,” says Interim Public Health Director Brannon Traxler.

Traxler says the move could come in late February.

Unlike North Carolina, where counties like Alexander got the OK to move to Phase 1B early, Traxler says the state is all in this together.

”I don’t anticipate it will be a facility by facility basis. We’re going to keep this the same across the state certainly as much as we can,: says Traxler.

One thing leaders in both states can agree on is that getting that vaccine can help make this year better than the last.

”2021 is going to look better. It’s going to take a little while but yes we’re very hopeful,” says Harris.

”We really remain encouraged by the dedication among South Carolinians to continue doing there part by getting vaccinated,” says Traxler.

As for where anyone can get a vaccine, Mecklenburg County is opening Bojangles’ Coliseum in early January for vaccinations.

Gaston County is setting up vaccine clinics throughout the county starting next Friday.

The Alexander County health department is also offering vaccines.

There is no set date yet when the state will move to the next group in Phase 1B.

South Carolina’s process is going steady according to the state’s health agency.

As Harris mentioned, this is going to be a slow process and vaccination efforts in both states are changing all of the time.

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