RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Only about 15 percent of all North Carolinians older than 5 are now considered up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine, state data show.
Federal and state public health officials have issued a revised definition of the phrase, saying that anyone 6 and older who has received a new bivalent booster dose would be up to date.
About 10.1 million people in North Carolina fall into that age group, U.S. Census figures show.
And the newest vaccine data posted March 29 by the state Department of Health and Human Services show less than 1.5 million people have received an updated booster shot. Only a tiny fraction of those went to children 5 or younger.
That works out to 14.7 percent of people 6 and older in the state.
NCDHHS also posts a slightly different number on its dashboard: 22 percent of people in the state who have finished the initial vaccine sequence also have received a dose of the new booster. But that number refers to a smaller number of people — the 6.7 million who have completed the initial series, not the entire population of the state.
Those vaccination numbers are updated on the last Wednesday of every month with the next one due April 26.
Going forward, getting the COVID-19 vaccine now only means one shot — not two.
Those original two-shot vaccine regimens are no longer an option, with public health officials saying unvaccinated people who want the vaccine now will only receive a single dose of the new booster.
People who are 65 and older or who have a compromised immune system are approved for another dose to keep themselves protected from severe illness.
Those changes are based on updated guidance from the Food and Drug Administration and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These changes are an important step toward the future for COVID-19 vaccines as we shift to regular routines that include the most up-to-date protection against the virus, similar to the annual flu shot,” State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson said.
“We are thankful to so many North Carolinians who have already taken steps to protect themselves and their loved ones against serious complications from COVID-19 and remind you that if you have not had a COVID-19 vaccine since September of 2022, you are most likely due for an updated dose,” she added.