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Health Officials continue to battle vaccine hesitancy

Experts hope full FDA approval of Pfizer Vaccine will help
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 4:34 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - This week COVID-19 Vaccine producer Pfizer announced plans to seek full approval for their vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of May and local health experts hope this news will help with vaccine hesitancy.

It was back in late December of 2020 that Pfizer received emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine shot and has since distributed millions of doses, with the company saying that over 131 million doses have been administered in the U.S. so far.

In Craven County, Health Director Scott Harrelson says just over 36.5% of the county’s population has been vaccinated but that number is even higher when looking at those who were at the highest risk of the virus.

“When you get to the older age bracket like 50 to 64 is at about 56% and 65 and up is somewhere around 85%,” said Harrelson.

But interest in the vaccine has continued to wane, and local health leaders at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern say they hope the news that Pfizer is aiming for full approval of their shot will help encourage those who have been hesitant to get inoculated.

Cathy Fischer is the Infection Prevention Manager at the hospital and says these vaccines are safe and effective and this approval would be one more step in proving that to those who are concerned.

“I really hope so, there are some misunderstandings or misconceptions that because it was pushed through so fast that it’s not been tested but that’s not necessarily true, it’s just that our technology is so much faster and better than it was before,” explained Fischer.

Along with answering questions and concerns, Fischer says the hospital is also going to extra lengths to spur interest in the vaccine. She says their next clinic is proof of that.

“We have lots of things going on to try and encourage people to come and get their vaccine, we know a lot of people have been vaccinated but we really want to reach the rest of the population,” said Fischer.

Fischer says the clinic on May 15th which is being held in the Havelock area will have transportation opportunities for those who need a ride and a food giveaway.

“Coastal Community Action group, they are going to have a food truck out there, we will have some door prizes and we have a campaign going on called vaccine champion, bring a friend and if you bring a friend, you get registered for a door prize,” explained Fischer.

Fischer is urging everyone who is not yet vaccinated to come out to the May 15th clinic. They are strongly encouraging people to make an appointment and you can do so by calling (252)-633-8309 or by emailing covidvaccine@carolinaeasthealth.com.

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