Bladen County Nurse Jackie Dennis photoed administering the COVID-19 Vaccine to Bladen County Nurse Amber Scholar.

Spread the love

The new year has seen COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise. No-cost drive-through testing is still available at the Bladen County Health Department located at 300 Mercer Mill Road in Elizabethtown.

The COVID-19 testing is offered Monday through Friday from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm.

Testing is not the only thing the health department is offering. Now Bladen County Healthcare Officials are working on Phase 1b of the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan this week. 

Phase 1a of the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan provided vaccinations to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 and Long-Term Care staff and residents. The first phase has been implemented in December of 2020.

The Bladen County Health Official announced the local health department will move into Phase 1b of the NC COVID-19 Vaccination Plan on January 6. 

Dr. Teresa (Terri) Duncan stated today, “We are starting with the 75-year-olds tomorrow, and we are trying to move through that group as much as we can. We’re calling people to come in now.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Phase 1b of the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan administers the vaccine to adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers. According to the local health department, anyone in this group can call 910-862-6900 extension 6220 to schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

“The age 75 is a large group, and then the group following them is another large group.” Dr. Duncan explains. 

According to Dr. Duncan, pre-existing conditions do not qualify in the 75 or older age group to receive the vaccine before anyone else in the 75-year-old age group. However, underlying health issues may move someone up to receive the vaccine sooner in the next group.

Phase 1b groups are as follows, according to the NCDHHS website. 

  • Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation.
  • Group 2: Health care workers and essential frontline workers 50 years or older
  • The CDC defines essential frontline workers as first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.
  • Group 3: Health care workers and essential frontline workers of any age

After Phase 1b, the next phase will be implemented, but there is not an estimated schedule of when other phases in the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan may be implemented. The other phases of the plan and their groups are listed below. 

Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness.

Vaccinations will happen by group in the following order:

  • Group 1: Anyone 65-74 years old, regardless of health status or living situation
  • Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
  • Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
  • Group 4: Essential workers not yet vaccinated.
  • The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, and public safety (e.g., engineers), and public health workers.

Phase 3: Students

  • College and university students
  • K-12 students age 16 and over. Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.

Phase 4: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.

View related video: