NORTH CAROLINA — In a bid to increase vaccine awareness, North Carolina public health officials launched a new website Monday that clarifies when residents will become eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.
Vaccine group eligibility may be determined on the "Find My Vaccine Group" website through the answering of a series of questions.
Currently, the state is vaccinating those 65 and older, healthcare workers with in-person patient contact and long-term care facility staff and residents.
The news comes as the state continues to ramp up vaccination efforts in an effort to exhaust first-dose supplies currently in the state amid "indications that the federal government might base future allocations on the supply states have on hand," North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Monday.
According to DHHS, efforts to administer vaccine supplies are taking hold. As of Jan. 24, North Carolina had administered 88 percent of all its first doses, with another 260,000 doses planned for this week. Monday morning, the Centers for Disease Control ranked the state 10th in the nation in total vaccines administered, DHHS said.
Future federal supplies, however, will slow the pace, public health officials warned.
"Beginning on January 27, North Carolina will have only 120,000 doses to allocate across the entire state," DHHS said. "A large portion of those doses are committed to the large-scale events planned several weeks ago to address the backlog in vaccine. As a result, many providers are getting small or no allocations for the coming week. Through no fault of their own, they will be postponing appointments."
“As long as we are getting such a small amount of vaccine as a state, there are going to be challenges and shortages as we try to ensure equitable access to vaccine, while getting shots into arms quickly," DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a statement.
More than a month after North Carolina launched COVID vaccinations, less than 6 percent of state residents have been vaccinated, according to state public health officials.
As of Jan. 20, at least 573,130 doses of vaccine had been administered throughout the state, according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services data. Of that tally, about 424,000 were first doses of the vaccine and about 76,000 were second doses completing the series. Nearly 73,000 doses of vaccine had been administered in long-term care facilities.
North Carolina reported 4,633 new coronavirus cases Monday, increasing the state's tally of known cases to 723,445. The state reported 8,720 deaths, an increase of 25 lives lost to the virus in a day. As of Monday, 3,287 patients were hospitalized for coronavirus illness in the state.