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‘Our road to recovery’: N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper visits two vaccination sites in Gaston County

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 3:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina’s governor, and state health leaders, made a stop in our area to see how vaccinations are going.

Governor Roy Cooper visited two vaccination clinics in Gastonia Wednesday morning.

He came to Gaston Medical Partners and CaroMont Health’s vaccinate sites.

Gov. Cooper’s first visit was to Gaston Medical Partners.

“This may be somewhat different than other vaccination sites you’ve been to previously,” Dr. Michael McCartney of Gaston Medical Partners said during the visit.

Gaston Medical Partners is a private practice of six family physicians in Gastonia.

So far, they have administered 200 doses of vaccine.

Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County
Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County(Khadejeh Nikouyeh / The Charlotte Observer.)

Dr. McCartney said they have not wasted any shots.

McCartney and other physicians within the practice explained to Gov. Cooper how they can talk one-on-one with patients who are hesitant of receiving the shot.

“We can work people into the schedule,” Dr. McCartney said. “If we see someone in the office and talk to them about their hesitancy with the vaccine, we talk about the risk benefits, and the patient is ready to go with vaccination then we try to get them scheduled within the same day.”

Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County
Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County(Khadejeh Nikouyeh/ The Charlotte Observer.)

“The fact that we have it is very reassuring to our patients. They really respond well knowing we have it in house,” another physician with the practice said to Gov. Cooper.

Cooper said the state will work to get more family practices doses of the vaccine.

He also said smaller practices will be instrumental in overcoming vaccine hesitancy because of doctor-patient relationships.

“At some point, we will have more supply than demand,” Cooper said. “Because at that point, we will be trying to encourage people from all demographics that the vaccine is the right thing to do. And a lot of people trust their family doctor and provider.”

Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County
Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County(Khadejeh Nikouyeh/ The Charlotte Observer.)

After his visit to Gaston Medical Partners, Gov. Cooper went across the street to CaroMont Health’s vaccinate site. There, providers administered 2,000 doses of the vaccine.

Gov. Cooper talked with patients who just received the shot, including a 16-year-old girl.

“The first 16-year-old. That’s great. You got your Pfizer vaccine,” Gov. Cooper said to the teenager.

Gov. Cooper congratulated providers for helping vaccinate 59 percent of the 65 and up population in North Carolina.

Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County
Gov. Cooper visits vaccination sites in Gaston County(Khadejeh Nikouyeh / The Charlotte Observer.)

The 65 and older population accounts for about 83 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state, according to NCDHHS data.

“We are turning a corner on this pandemic and what we see here today is our road to recovery and our path to normalcy,” Cooper said after his visit.

However, Gov. Cooper warned not to let off the gas pedal just yet.

“My instruction to the providers have been get these shots off the shelf and into arms before the next shipment comes and make sure those arms look like North Carolina. Fast and fair is the way we want it,” Cooper said.

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