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J & J vaccine clinics slated locally this week

With federal health officials expressing confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) will move forward with offering that type of COVID-19 shots this week at local drive-thru clinics.

Following a thorough safety review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have confidence that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and recommend its continued use to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that providers in the state resume administration of the J & J vaccine now that its safety has been reaffirmed.

“We are happy to be able to now move forward with offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to our community members,” said ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts, Jr. “This vaccine has the added benefit of a one-shot dose to be fully vaccinated. It is now easier than ever for people to take their shot against COVID-19. These tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help us get back to living our normal lives.”

ARHS and its community partners will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week at the following local locations (drive-thru):

Wednesday, May 5 from 1-3 p.m. in the parking lot of Bertie High School, located at 715 US Hwy 13 North, Windsor; and

Friday, May 7 from 1-3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Gates County Health Department, located at 29 Medical Center Road, Gates.

ARHS has changed over to a total “appointment only” plan to administer first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine. Local residents can make a vaccine appointment by calling ARHS offices in Ahoskie (252-862-4054), Gatesville (252-357-1380), or Windsor (252-794-5322).

If you received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with another provider such as Walgreens or CVS, you will need to return to that same facility for your second dose.

Due to the decreasing demand and interest for COVID-19 vaccines in individuals in Priority Groups 1-4, the Northampton County Health Department has started vaccinating any individual, ages 18 and older, regardless of Priority Group. To schedule an appointment, call the Northampton County Health Department at 252-534-5841.

There was one death locally last week due to the COVID-19 virus. That death was reported in Northampton County.

As of Friday, April 30, the COVID death toll in the Roanoke-Chowan area stood at 190 since the pandemic began in March of last year. The county-by-county death toll currently stands at 69 in Northampton, 63 in Hertford, 45 in Bertie, and 13 in Gates.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases locally remains low. As of April 30, there were 22 active cases in Hertford County, 19 in Bertie, 11 in Northampton, and seven in Gates.

The percentage of those vaccinated locally continues to rise.

As of Monday, May 3, 35.8 percent of the population in Bertie County have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 30.1 percent (5,707 individuals) are fully vaccinated.

In Northampton County, 33.5 percent if its citizens eligible to receive the vaccine have taken at least one dose. Those fully vaccinated (5,822) represent 29.9 percent of the population.

Hertford County is reporting 28.6 percent of its citizens have received at least one shot while 24.3 percent (5,765 individuals) are totally vaccinated.

In Gates County, 27.4 percent of its eligible citizens have been vaccinated once while 22.8 percent (2,639) are totally vaccinated.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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