Mecklenburg Co. health leaders focusing on vaccination, ‘eagerly awaiting’ approval of shots for young kids

The briefing with Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris and Deputy Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington took place Thursday
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 10:02 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 10:53 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Mecklenburg County health officials expressed enthusiasm over the county’s COVID-19 trends during a virtual media briefing Thursday.

“We are seeing improved trends in our numbers, which is great news as we move into the winter months,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said.

A big portion of the briefing was spent talking about COVID-19 vaccines. Harris said 57% of Mecklenburg County residents are fully vaccinated, while 68% of those 12 and up are fully vaccinated.

“Unfortunately our 12- to 17-year-olds are only a little over halfway vaccinated, so we know we’ve got room to work there over the next number of months,” she said.

Harris added close to 60% of COVID-19 vaccines that have been given out over the past two weeks in Mecklenburg County have been booster shots.

Booster shots have been authorized for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Harris said the county is “eagerly awaiting” final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

“We know that there’s a good bit of interest among our parents,” Harris said. “As soon as we know that this has been approved, we will be making vaccine available as soon as the vaccine is in our hands.”

Harris said they’re expecting delivery of the kid-sized doses of the vaccine next week from the state, as soon as the CDC approves. That amount is still estimated to be 13,500 doses. She added they are working on a rollout strategy for that vaccine.

According to Harris, there will be numerous locations available for the children’s vaccine, and they will have events scheduled, “at this point in time,” on Nov. 6 that will focus on families.

Thursday’s update comes a day after Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the state, as North Carolina prepares to receive COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of 5 to 11.

Related: ‘Every unvaccinated person is another foothold allowing this virus to regain strength’: Key takeaways as Gov. Cooper talks boosters, child vaccinations

Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 key metrics and trends, which shows trends heading in a positive direction.

“We are grateful to see this latest surge in COVID-19 taper off,” said Gov. Cooper. “And as we try to drive down our numbers, we know what works. Vaccines. The more people who get their shots, the less COVID we’ll have.”

According to the latest Mecklenburg County statistics, as of Oct. 20, there have been 154,817 COVID-19 cases reported in the county.

During the previous week, an average of 187 confirmed cases per day was reported in Mecklenburg County, compared to the 14-day average of 204.

Over the prior week, an average of 7.3% of individuals who were tested in Mecklenburg County was positive for COVID-19, another decrease trend over the last 14 days, according to county data.

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