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Some counties tell eligible educators: It will be a while before you can get COVID-19 vaccine

Posted February 20, 2021 8:33 p.m. EST
Updated February 21, 2021 6:39 a.m. EST

— Educators and childcare workers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Feb. 24, but some county health leaders say they won't be ready to give it to them.

Franklin County Health Director Scott Lavigne says his county has already pushed it back. In fact, Lavigne says childcare workers and educators should not even try to sign up for an appointment right now.

"If you send us that information, register yourself, try to get in and book an appointment, we are just going to cancel you," Lavigne said.

He says they still have a lot of adults 65 and older to get to – those particularly vulnerable to the virus.

"We are still not even close to offering it to half the people that are eligible," he said.

Coronavirus vaccinations in NC

Elsewhere, in Orange County, officials plan to vaccinate more than 20,000 people already on their waitlist before getting to educators and childcare workers.

In Wake County, educators will be added to the vaccination process, though priority will be given to those 65-and-older and health care workers already in line.

Kristin Beller with the Wake County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators understands supply is key to getting teachers vaccinated faster. She says the state simply needs more supply, and hopes counties can find a way to strike a balance that includes people who work with children.

"Minimizing severe illness and protecting those folks who are working face to face with large numbers of our population," Beller said.

State officials left room for counties to decide when they should add more people to their vaccination programs, acknowledging demand for those currently eligible remains high.

Just this week, Wayne County stated they still had 7,000 people on its waiting list.

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