Jones County to open vaccinations to anyone 18 and older

North Carolina is making people with medical conditions eligible for the vaccine starting Wednesday, but has not yet given the go-ahead to the rest of the population.
Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT
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JONES COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Another Eastern North Carolina county is moving ahead with its vaccination process.

Jones County is registering people 18 and older for the vaccine, despite state guidelines not reaching Group Four, people with severe medical conditions.

“We’re having some difficulty filling our appointment slots,” said Jones County Health Director Ann Pike. “They pretty much don’t want us to waste any vaccine so when we’ve got everybody that’s in that current age group, that’s when we start other folks.”

They’re not the first county to move eligibility ahead of schedule. Craven County expanded its eligibility to everyone older than 18 earlier this month.

Jones County is holding three outreach events across the county this week. They were in Trenton and Pollocksville Monday, and plan to be at the Piggly Wiggly in Maysville from 9am-11am Tuesday.

It’s all to get interest in their two first-dose vaccination clinics later this month. Interest in that has been declining for currently-eligible groups, according to Pike.

“Getting a two-dose vaccine means they have to take two days or two half-days off,” said Pike.

The events are being moved along with the help of the North Carolina National Guard.

“I never imagined that we would be doing this,” said Sgt. Rachel Fleshman. “But, we just love like helping and feeling like we made a difference.”

The interest has been declining at least in part, Pike said, due to a popular provider of the vaccine that isn’t available along the coast: The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We don’t have that available to us in this area right now,” said Pike. “They are mostly reserving that for some of the big events in some of the bigger towns and cities here in the state.”

The vaccination events are being held Wednesday, March 24 and Wednesday, April 7 at the Jones County Civic Center by appointment only.

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