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Health Department registers people eligible for COVID vaccines as part of Phase 1b

The Stanly County Health Department has begun registering people who are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine as part of the state’s Phase 1b.

Under Phase 1b, adults 65 years and older and frontline essential workers can receive the vaccine. The CDC defines frontline workers as first responders, teachers, grocery store workers, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, public transit workers, corrections officers and U.S. postal workers.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday that the state would expand its coronavirus protocols and allow adults 65 and older to receive the vaccine, to align with new CDC guidelines. Previously, only adults 75 and up could receive it.

During the school board meeting last week, Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis said he spoke with officials at the health department and that the plan, as part of Phase 1b, was to start vaccinating Stanly County Schools staff over 50 years of age who haven’t had the coronavirus in the past 30 days.

Results from a recent survey sent to teachers showed that 250 wanted to receive the vaccine. The vaccinations began Thursday and were administered by school nurses. Some of the officials who have already been vaccinated, according to pictures posted on the school system’s Facebook page, include Dennis along with assistant superintendent Vicki Calvert and director of student services Beverly Pennington.

To register for vaccination, people can call the department’s new COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 980-323-0205. The hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during normal business days. Individuals will be asked to provide relevant information such as name, date of birth, phone number and employer. They will not be asked about their Social Security number or any financial information.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline will put people on the list to be contacted by a Stanly County Health Department scheduler, who will call to set up a vaccination appointment.

As of Wednesday, 384 people have been vaccinated by the health department. There were also 53 new positive cases reported and 31 people were hospitalized. A total of 97 people have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began last March.

Up until this week, the department had been vaccinating health care workers working directly with patients diagnosed with COVID-19, which comprises Phase 1a. CVS and Walgreens, through a Pharmacy Partnership Program with DHHS, are tasked with administering the vaccine to residents and staff at nursing homes and adult congregate living facilities, also part of Phase 1a.

Other groups will be vaccinated in the following phases (in the coming weeks and months) determined by state health guidelines:

• Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness;

• Phase 3: Students; and

• Phase 4: Everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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