The Cumberland County Health Department is developing a plan to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19.
“About 17% of our population is not yet eligible to be vaccinated but will be soon,” Health Director Jennifer Green said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee will meet Oct. 26 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee with meet Nov. 1 and 2 to discuss the use of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
“Coming down the pipeline (are) vaccines for our younger children,” Green said. “We anticipate that soon after that we’ll have vaccines available for our children, ages 5 to 11, and we’ve been collaborating with our school districts, with our city and county staff … to make sure that we have a plan in place to vaccinate those children when they become eligible.”
The county has had 407 COVID-19 cases in the last seven days and 1,035 COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, she said.
“Cases are continuing to drop, which is a positive … but of course, we are still much higher than we’d like to be and higher than we were over the summer,” Green said.
The Health Department’s goal is for the county’s 7.6% case positivity rate to decrease to 5%, she said.
There have been 44,333 COVID-19 cases in Cumberland County and 452 deaths from the disease.
“We anticipate that our testing numbers will go back up as we get closer to the holiday season, just as they have in previous years,” Green said.
Cases are the highest among 24- to 49-year-old residents, she said.
“We have seen an increase in our younger age groups, in particular those that are too young to be vaccinated and those that are 5 to 9 and 10 to 14. Although those percentage points are still small, we are monitoring those numbers carefully,” Green said.
COVID-19 testing is provided at the Health Department from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday
“We have two types of at-home tests available at the Health Department,” Green said. “We have a PCR test; you can pick it up from the Health Department, swab it yourself and send it out to a lab and then get your result back and in a few days, and we also have rapid antigen test kits available, while supplies last, and that one is a 15-minute test.”
Nearly 56% of the county is vaccinated against COVID-19, she said.
COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are also available at the Health Department, located at 1235 Ramsey St.
“North Carolina, those that are unvaccinated are four times more likely to get COVID-19 as vaccinated individuals,” Green said.
Health and education writer Ariana-Jasmine Castrellon can be reached at email@example.com or 910-486-3561.
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