CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The initial shipment of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Mecklenburg County, health officials said on Wednesday.
The county said it was expecting 10,000 doses of the vaccine in the first allotment. On top of that, the county is expecting an additional 5,850 Pfizer doses.
County health officials said that Mecklenburg County Public Health, Atrium Health, Novant Health, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management are working to prioritize the vaccine for those eligible.
North Carolina was expecting more than 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, along with 215,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
“We’ve said for a long time we just need more vaccine,” Dr. David Priest of Novant Health said.
Of those 10,000 doses, they will be split between the health department, Atrium Health and Novant Health.
“Those doses were requested as the state to get our educators, our child care workers, as well as our school staff vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said.
Just as educators and childcare workers became eligible on Feb. 24, other frontline essential workers became eligible on March 3. Then, the vaccine eligibility accelerates to Group 4 on March 24.
“We’ve said for a long time we just need more vaccine,” Priest said.
More vaccine means making an appointment could get easier.
The health department is opening more slots on Thursday for Group 3 frontline healthcare workers to run March 10 through the 31.
“Likely somewhere around 400 appointments a day, and then adding more as vaccine becomes available,” Mecklenburg County Medical Director Dr. Meg Sullivan said.
They are also calling the more than 6,000 people on their waitlist.
Novant Health is moving people up.
“We’re working to reschedule those 65 and older with appointments in April and May to get vaccinated this week,” Nikki Nissen, with Novant Health, said.
Health officials are urging people to take any vaccine provided to them because all three of them are effective in preventing serious infection.
More appointments through Mecklenburg County go live this Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
To sign up, click here. You can also call 980-314-9400 Option 3 for English, Option 8 for Spanish.