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Cooper, Cohen and local officials encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Cooper, Cohen and local officials encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19

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Gov. Roy Cooper, state health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and local officials urged people Wednesday to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which they said will be that best way to end the pandemic.

Cooper, Cohen and others toured the family vaccination center at the St. Peter’s Church and World Outreach Center on Old Lexington Road in the city’s southeastern section.

Gov. Cooper St. Peter's Church & World Outreach Center

Gov. Roy Cooper gives a fist bump to Aliyanna Candela after she received her second COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Anju Panth at the family vaccination clinic  Wednesday at St. Peter's Church & World Outreach Center.

Afterward, Cooper told reporters that all North Carolinians have been affected by the pandemic.

“All of us want it to be gone,” Cooper said. “The way to do that is get people vaccinated.”

Cooper said he’s grateful that faith communities have helped many families affected by the pandemic, such as underserved neighborhoods where many people don’t have access to adequate housing.

“That has been exacerbated during this pandemic,” Cooper said.

The governor pointed to St. Peter’s Church and World Outreach Center and other places of worship, where religious leaders and local officials have convinced people that getting vaccinated is the right approach for themselves and their loved ones.

“It’s really a time to make sure that you can push over the edge and get enough people vaccinated so we can turn the corner on this pandemic,” Cooper said. “We are turning the corner now, (and) our numbers are plateauing.”

As of Wednesday, there were 2,171 new reported cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Statewide, 18,514 people have died from the virus.

North Carolina has 6.1% daily positive rate for the virus, state health officials say. There were 1,049 state residents hospitalized Wednesday with the virus.

Statistics show that 72% of the state’s adult population is vaccinated with at least one dose, and 68% of the North Carolina’s adult population is fully vaccinated.

Gov. Cooper St. Peter's Church & World Outreach Center

Winston-Salem City Council member D.D. Adams (left) and Dr. Mandy Cohen, N.C. health secretary, listen Wednesday as Pastor Jayson Sloan describes the outreach ministries of St. Peter’s Church & World Outreach Center.

In Forsyth County, there have been a total of 52,943 cases of COVID-19, state health officials say. There have been 576 deaths among Forsyth residents since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The total number of cases in Forsyth over the past 14 days is 223, state health officials say.

With the holidays approaching, “the weather is colder, and families are going to gather,” the governor said. “And we know that coronavirus thrives more in those kind of gatherings and in this kind of weather.

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“So it’s more important than ever that people get vaccinated,” Cooper said. “And we can do it as a family. We know it’s a family thing. These vaccination centers are so important.”

State health officials made sure that North Carolina’s minority communities had access to the COVID-19 vaccine, Cooper said.

Cohen, the secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said that North Carolina is in a better place this year than it was last year amid the pandemic.

“We have more tools,” Cohen said. “We have the vaccine, and we have more treatments.”

The family vaccination clinic at St. Peter’s Church and World Outreach Center is one of nine family vaccination clinics around North Carolina that provide access to the vaccine in local communities, Cohen said.

“We know vaccines are safe, and they are effective,” Cohen said.

Cohen’s two daughters were vaccinated a week ago, she said. Cohen then encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated as well. Vaccines available for children ages 5 to 11 are safe, Cohen said.

With winter approaching, all state residents are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus, she said. Cohen also encouraged adults to get their booster shots, particularly people who are 65 and older.

“Vaccines work, and it’s how we are going to enjoy the holidays this year,” Cohen said.

“We have to remember that this virus is different that it was last year,” Cohen said. “It is more contagious than it’s ever been, so we do have to be on guard today.”

As state residents celebrate the holidays, they should remember that the COVID-19 is a winter virus, Cohen said.

“We do have to be on guard and use the tools that have been given to us by the scientific community — vaccines, its testing, its treatment, its masks, its layering of clothes,” Cohen said. “If we do that as a state and as communities, we are going to get through this this winter. I don’t want to see any more lives lost to this disease.”

“We have the tools to prevent that at this point,” Cohen said. “We just need to do that and work together.”

Cooper urged people who are still not vaccinated against the virus to talk to their doctors and their local health departments.

“They will tell you that you should get vaccinated, and your family should get vaccinated,” Cooper said. “There is a lot misinformation online, on the internet, that have really guided people in the wrong direction.”

State residents can listen to their ministers and family members, but “the medical people are the ones that know, have done the research and know about this. Ask them, and get it done for yourselves and your family.”

During the news conference, Mayor Pro Tem Denise Adams and Fleming El-Amin, a Forsyth County commissioner, also urged local residents to get vaccinated and their booster shots as well.

“It seems like this is a pandemic that won’t go away,” Adams said.




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