North Carolina lags behind in vaccine rollout

North Carolina lags behind in vaccine rollout

Charlotte residents receive vaccinations at Atrium Health on January 6. Photo: Atrium Health

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Although coronavirus vaccine distribution has accelerated locally, North Carolina lags behind other states when it comes to the pace of vaccine distribution.

What’s new: Just over 137,000 people in North Carolina have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which is just over 1.3% of the population, according to CDC data. Nationally, 5.3 million people, or about 1.7% of the population, have gotten the first dose, Bloomberg data show. [Go deeper]

  • The numbers are higher in nearby states. In Tennessee, more than 2.4% of the population has gotten the first dose; in Kentucky, it’s 1.5% .

Data: CDC. Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: A lack of resources and poor timing are among the reasons state officials give for the slowed the pace of the coronavirus vaccine.

  • N.C. DHHS secretary Mandy Cohen said during a briefing Wednesday that vaccine administers across the state need all kinds of help, from data entry to IT support to answering phones.

State of play: Vaccine distribution just started here two weeks ago, Cohen said, and administrators are “hitting their stride now and figuring out their operations.”

  • Governor Cooper mobilized the N.C. National Guard this week  to help speed up the state’s vaccine distribution, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. State officials have said the National Guard can help with anything from logistics to administrative support.

Flashback: North Carolina started administering coronavirus vaccines to health care workers and long-term care residents and staff on December 15, and adults 75+ on January 6.

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  • Amid delays, the state announced an update to its rollout timing last week.

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