RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order in an effort to speed up vaccine distributions across the state.
The governor announced Executive Order 193 on Tuesday which is designed to extend previous orders, giving North Carolina health officials the ability to temporarily waive industry regulations in order to speed vaccine distribution.
“Today’s order gives the department authority to expand types of providers to administer vaccines,” Cooper said. “I’m ordering state officials to marshal all state resources, including property, facilities and personnel, upon request by NCDHHS, to help with vaccination efforts as supply increases.”
The order will increase the number of providers who can administer the vaccine.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, with the NCDHHS, says the state is not short on providers, but just the vaccine.
Currently, Moderna and Pfizer have vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A vaccine by Johnson & Johnson will be reviewed by the end of February, according to Cohen.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is easier storage requirements and has just one dose. Cohen said the Federal Government wants to wait to hear from FDA before telling states how to use it.
North Carolina is planning for increased capacity and additional supply.
“That is our limitation at this point,” Cohen said. “We do want to get ready and onboard providers so when our supply does increase that we make sure we can continue both the speed and equity we are working under.”
Cooper said supply remains low and there is not yet enough supply to vaccine millions of North Carolinians who need the vaccine.
The governor said he spoke with the Biden Administration who assured the state they would get another five percent increase in vaccine supply this week.
“We know there’s still not enough vaccine supply to vaccinate the millions of people who need it. We’re pushing for more,” Cooper said.
North Carolina’s goal is to vaccinate as many people as quickly and equitably as possible.
Governor Cooper also said NCDHHS will be announcing information later this week on when the state will move into the next phase of vaccinations, which is Group 3.
As of Tuesday, North Carolina has administered more than 1.4 million doses of the vaccine.
About 100 percent of first doses received by the federal government for North Carolina providers have been administered, as well as 50 percent of second doses.
State officials say vaccine supply is limited; therefore, states must vaccinate people in groups.
North Carolina is currently vaccinating people in Groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and people 65 and older.
Group 3 will include frontline essential workers; Group 4 will include adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness; and Group 5 will include everyone.
“I know all of this is hard, and I want people to know that I’m committed to making sure that vaccine gets to every North Carolinian as quickly and fairly as possible,” Cooper said.