Raleigh, NC (STL.News) Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen visited a large-scale vaccine site at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Friday Conference Center to witness health care workers and North Carolinians over age 65 receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The number one priority right now is getting this vaccine administered to North Carolinians as quickly and as equitably as possible,” Governor Cooper said.  “I’m grateful for the health care providers working tirelessly to get these shots into more people’s arms and helping us get to the other side of this pandemic.”

In accordance with federal recommendations, the state has given local entities the flexibility to begin vaccinating North Carolinians over the age of 65 and all health care workers who have in-person contact with patients.

In the last week, North Carolina has significantly increased the pace of vaccinations.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is supporting health systems, local health departments and community health centers across the state to host large community vaccine events for people currently eligible to be vaccinated.  More than 45,000 vaccines are expected to be given through these events.  A list of local vaccine providers is available on YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.

”This is all hands-on deck effort, and we appreciate our partners working hard to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible while still focusing on equity,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.  “It is heartwarming to see the joy and relief on people’s face when they receive the vaccine.”

“We are very pleased to have Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen visit our busy vaccination site at UNC’s Friday Center as we partner closely with the State on vaccine administration,” said UNC Health CEO Wesley Burks, MD. “UNC Health and the School of Medicine have been involved in every facet of the battle against COVID-19, from clinical care and therapy development to clinical trials and vaccine roll out. We are working as quickly as we can to get vaccines in the arms of those 65 years old and older.  We are also dedicated to ensuring equity in distribution of the vaccine for our communities.”

With vaccines still in short supply, the state is implementing a phased distribution of the vaccine.  But Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen are encouraging all North Carolinians to be informed about the benefits and safety of the COVID vaccine now so they can be ready when it’s their turn to roll up their sleeves.

Learn more about who is currently eligible to get vaccinated and where you can set up an appointment in your community at the NCDHHS Find Your Spot to Take Your Shot site.

To allow for proper distancing and safety protocols, coverage of this event was pooled in coordination with the North Carolina Press Association.

Video footage of this event is available for media use here.  Raw audio footage is available here and here.

Still photos are available here, credit to Travis Long of the News & Observer.

Video coverage of the media availability can be found here.