COVID: Good news and bad
RALEIGH — The continued fight against COVID-19 continues to make headlines across our state…some good, some bad.
While the bad news is that the state surpassed 17,000 deaths over the past 18 months from the virus, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19. Seventy percent of North Carolinians age 18 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be our best tool for preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Seventy percent of North Carolinians have sought out reliable information and decided to protect themselves and others with tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. If you’re not vaccinated, it’s not too late. Just don’t wait.”
COVID-19 vaccines offer significant protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death. People who are not fully vaccinated are more than 18 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated.
This protection will be strengthened and extended through booster shots for people who are 65 and over, have a high-risk medical condition, work in higher risk settings or live or work in a place where many people work together. Boosters are currently available for people who received their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago.
Ongoing research on the safety of COVID-19 has made the vaccines available to more people, including teens ages 12-17. In addition, clinical trials are being completed and analyzed for children ages 5-11.
Research has also shown the vaccines are safe for those who are pregnant, wanting to get pregnant or are nursing. Last week, the CDC issued a health advisory urgently recommending people who are pregnant, recently pregnant or trying to become pregnant get vaccinated. The action came as August was the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in pregnant women in a single month. There are significant risks for complications associated with COVID-19 in pregnant women.
“We still have a way to go to get everyone fully vaccinated, but we should all celebrate this moment,” Cohen said. “Credit for reaching this important milestone goes to the thousands of tireless providers, community and faith-based groups, advocates and public servants who worked to provide education and, most importantly, access to COVID-19 vaccines throughout the state. You have saved millions of lives. Let’s keep up the good work.”
Visit MySpot.nc.gov for more COVID-19 information and updates and to find a vaccine location near you.