Jones County expands vaccinations for people 18 years and older

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TRENTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Another county in Eastern North Carolina is widening the group of people eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination despite state officials currently only accepting front-line workers, the elderly, and teachers.

Jones County is allowing anyone 18 years and older to sign up for an appointment. Craven County recently expanded its vaccination window.

Officials in both counties stated they have had trouble filling their vaccination slots. Ann Pike, Jones County interim health director, launched COVID vaccination registration sites to get people a shot in the arm.

The North Carolina National Guard has been stepping in to help Jones County. They’ve been setting up tables in Trenton, Pollocksville and Maysville to register people for a COVID shot. Anyone who signs up will be eligible to stop by the county’s two mass vaccination events on March 24 and April 7.

Pike said while state officials haven’t moved to this age group, local health officials have the doses to do so.

“We’re finding that we’re not having such a demand from the age groups that the state is currently telling us to vaccinate,” Pike said. “I followed suit with Craven County, they went ahead, they were having trouble filling their slots. So I made the decision to go ahead and open ours so we could fill our vaccine slots again so we don’t have any vaccines wasted.”

Pike believes the people left to vaccinate are the working class or people on the fence about getting the vaccine.

“I really think that’s why we’re having some trouble filling our slots is because we’re at the population now that’s just undecided,” said Pike.

Jones County is also vaccinating people who live outside county lines. However, the county’s health director is seeing people not return for their second dose. It’s troubling because it leaves health care workers looking for other ways to use the vaccine at the last minute.

The amount of second doses a county receive is based on the number of first doses used.

Pike is working on setting up another registration site in Pleasant Hill next week, but details have not been finalized. The information will be posted on the county’s health department Facebook page.

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