Top state health expert says NC still seeing high COVID-19 transmission

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COVID-19 Vaccine (Photo: WWAY)

NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) — More than 24,000 children in North Carolina have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, NCDHHS Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said during a news conference on Wednesday.

“The data shows that the lower dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine protects children from serious illness and there were no serious side effects,” she said.

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Cohen said her daughters got their vaccine last weekend.

“As a parent, having a safe vaccine to protect my young daughters from COVID-19 is a huge relief,” she said.

Even though the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 is rare for children, Cohen said it’s important for them to get vaccinated because severe illness is still possible.

“Importantly, any preventable hospitalization or preventable death in a child is important,” said Dr. Charlene Wong, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at NCDHHS.

As for the holidays, which are quickly approaching, Dr. Cohen gave advice for staying healthy.

If you’re traveling, Cohen said that, if you got the J&J vaccine, you should get a booster, even if you’re healthy.

If you got Pfizer or Moderna, she said you should assess depending on your level of risk of exposure.

As for how the state is doing with COVID-19 metrics, Cohen said the state remains in the red zone with the highest level of COVID transmission but trends have improved significantly.

As for dropping mask mandates — even though there isn’t a state mandate — Cohen said “we’re not quite there yet.”

“Vaccines are what is going to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror officially,” she said.