Pittsboro, NC – As of Wednesday, April 7, all Chatham County residents ages 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, following NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) guidance. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for individuals 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been authorized for individuals 18 and older. Research trials are underway for vaccines among children younger than 16 years old, but none have yet been given Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
This marks the move into Group 5 of NCDHHS’ vaccination prioritization guidance. A full list of places where Chatham County residents can receive the vaccine can be found at myspot.nc.gov. That online tool allows individuals to search providers by the type of vaccine they are administering. All three vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, and millions across the country and around the world have received each of them. Learn more about each vaccine here.
The change to make all adults eligible for the vaccine comes as 38% of Chatham County residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 26% of county residents were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, April 6, according to NCDHHS. Overall, 30% of North Carolinians had received at least one dose, while 20% were fully vaccinated.
“All adults in North Carolina are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Mike Zelek, Chatham County Public Health Director. “With nearly half of Chatham’s adults at least partially vaccinated, we have made tremendous progress in the last few months. That said, we need more people to get vaccinated to put this pandemic behind us and avoid another wave of cases. If you have not yet gotten the vaccine, it is now your turn.”
The Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) is coordinating with StarMed Healthcare to conduct mass vaccination clinics at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. The next StarMed mass vaccination clinics will be held on Friday, April 9th and Monday, Monday, April 12th. To schedule an appointment, visit starmed.care and click “Vaccine- Register Now.” You may also call the CCPHD’s Vaccine Info Line (919-545-8323) Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The CCPHD continues to ramp up its efforts to ensure all Chatham residents, with a focus on marginalized communities and those with barriers to accessing traditional options, are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn. Events driven by this focus include:
- On Saturday, March 28th, the CCPHD provided first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 280 residents through a partnership with St. Julia Catholic Church in Siler City and the Hispanic Liaison/El Vinculo Hispano. Other partners for the event included the Chatham Health Alliance, Chatham County Head Start, Chatham Literacy, Chatham County Communities in Schools, the NC National Guard, and the Chatham Community Emergency Response Team.
- On Monday, April 5th, the CCPHD administered 60 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Roca Fuerte Baptist Church in Pittsboro.
- In recent weeks, CCPHD staff have led vaccination events at local workplaces, the Chatham County Detention Center, and to those who are homebound at their residences, while also coordinating with other vaccine providers to reach the Chatham community.
The CCPHD encourages all residents to continue to practice the 3 Ws — wearing a face covering in public, washing your hands regularly and waiting six feet apart from others — both before and after vaccination.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) says it is safe for fully vaccinated people — those who have received the full dosage (one for Johnson & Johnson, two for Moderna and Pfizer) at least two weeks ago — to gather with others in small groups indoors without wearing a mask. However, according to the CDC, it remains important to “keep taking precautions… like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces — in public places.” Individuals can read more about the CDC’s recommendations for fully-vaccinated individuals here.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the CCPHD’s vaccination plans, visit here. To learn more about the Chatham County Public Health Department, visit chathamcountync.gov/publichealth or facebook.com/chathamhealth.