GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — On Tuesday the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported nearly 20% of all North Carolinians are vaccinated and 30% have already gotten their first dose. Gov. Roy Cooper hopes the numbers are boosted when shots open up to everyone over the age of 16 on Wednesday.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Cooper said the vaccine supply is plentiful, but the demand for it is starting to decrease.
Most counties in the Piedmont Triad including Alamance, Guilford, Davidson, Randolph and Rockingham counties opened eligibility to people over 16 years old ahead of the state-issued timeline. Several county leaders told FOX8 the reason was because vaccine appointments were slowing down.
“You have some folks within the community who just don’t trust vaccinations,” said Skip Alston, the chair of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. “We have to do an educational program for those who have some hesitance about taking the vaccine.”
According to the NCDHHS vaccination dashboard, 28.3% of people were partially vaccinated and 17.8% of people were fully vaccinated in Guilford County on Tuesday. Alston told FOX8 he hopes those numbers will be around 80% in late July.
“This virus is still alive and well and searching for folks who have not been vaccinated,” he said.
Other counties showed lower vaccination rates based on total population within the county.
The dashboard recorded in Randolph County 19.6% of the population is partially vaccinated while 12.9% is fully vaccinated.
In Davidson County, 20% of the population is partially vaccinated while 14.3% is fully vaccinated.
Over in Rockingham County, 25.1% of the population is partially vaccinated while 15.2% is fully vaccinated.
“We do know at some point we will hit that peak of supply exceeding demand,” Cooper said. “We need to continue to push up the demand until we can get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
Cooper said encouragement from family, friends and neighbors who are vaccinated may help make a difference.
Wearing a face mask and social distancing are still required in public places after receiving a shot. Alston told FOX8 that rule will remain in place until most people in Guilford County are vaccinated.
“We’re not going to put people’s lives in danger by trying to release and relinquish these restrictions before we get to herd immunity,” Alston said. “I’m tired of it as much as the next person, but we have to do this in the name of getting back to some normalcy for our community.”