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County sees uptick in vaccine demand

The Beaufort County Health Department has seen an uptick in demand for COVID-19 vaccines in recent weeks. Health Director Jim Madson said the recent announcement of Gov. Roy Cooper’s “Summer Cash” and college tuition drawings could have contributed to that boost in demand, coupled with the announcement last month that the Pfizer vaccine had been approved for children ages 12 and older.

“We did get a slight increase about two weeks ago, and we’ve maintained that slight increase,” Madson said Tuesday. “But I’m not sure how much of it would be off of the lottery announcement.”

The drawings are meant to encourage more people to get vaccinated by providing potential cash prizes for those who get vaccinated in the near future, as well as those who’ve already been vaccinated.

The initiative officially begins Wednesday and runs through Aug. 4. North Carolinians 18 and over who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into four drawings for a chance to win a $1 million cash prize. Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into four drawings to win $125,000 towards postsecondary education. The $125,000 can be used at any post-secondary institution and is awarded in the form of a N.C. 529 account.

The first drawing takes place Wednesday. Those vaccinated on or after June 10, the day the program was unveiled, will be entered twice for each drawing.

As of Tuesday, 43% of Beaufort County’s total population and 54% of its adult population had been at least partially vaccinated.

“We really want to get about 13% more of our population vaccinated,” Madson said. “We’d like to get 67% of the population over 18 vaccinated.

“So we’re working towards that, and we’re encouraging people, if they have questions, to give us a call so we can talk to them about their worries, and let them know that we feel that the vaccine is safe and effective. And we’d really like to see more people come and get it.”

To make a vaccination appointment with the health department, call 252-940-6150 or click here.

COVID STATS

Beaufort County’s COVID-19 death toll increased to 98 with three new deaths reported last week. Two of those deaths happened in February and one happened in May. They all involved Beaufort County residents who died in other counties. The delivery of their death certificates to the health department was delayed, which is why they’re just now being reported.

As of Tuesday, Beaufort County had recorded 4,709 cases of COVID-19. Health officials knew of 40 active cases among county residents, three of which are hospitalized. The county has reported 4,571 recoveries.