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Child COVID-19 vaccinations could begin in Mecklenburg County by Nov. 6

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said they have their "fingers crossed" that Nov. 6 would begin the vaccination for kids as young as 5.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Child-sized vials used for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to kids aged 5- to-11-years old could arrive in Mecklenburg County as early as next week, county public health officials said Thursday anticipating the FDA and CDC would approve the emergency usage authorization of the Pfizer vaccine.

"We're working with our partners in the community on a rollout strategy for these vaccines," Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said during a briefing Thursday.

Assuming approval for the vaccine happens next week, Harris anticipates vaccination of children as young as 5 years old could begin Nov. 6. 

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"The November 6 date is the date that we're all keeping our fingers crossed [for]," she said. 

The county and its partners have already planned at least eight vaccination sites for Nov. 6 that will be open to anyone eligible.

"Hopefully the 5- to-11-year-olds will be eligible as well," Harris said.

The vaccination sites for Nov. 6 include:

Sealed Air Corporation provided by VaxClinic

2415 Cascade Pointe Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Northwest Health Department

2845 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

StarMed Healthcare

  • 4001 Tuckaseegee Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208
  • 5344 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28212

McClintock Middle School provided by Novant Health

1925 Rama Rd, Charlotte, NC 28212

Matthews Theater provided by StarMed

100 W McDowell St, Matthews, NC 28105

Charlotte Community Health Center

8401 Medical Plaza Dr, Ste 300, Charlotte, NC 28262

C.W. Williams Community Health Center

3333 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208

County health employees are already working to educate parents who may be hesitant to get their children vaccinated.

“You can’t look at a child and say this one's more likely to have severe complications than that one," Harris said. "As a grandparent, as a parent, I’m not sure I’d want to gamble with that with my child.”

Vaccination rates 

Ahead of this vaccine, vaccinations are available to individuals as young as 12 years of age but Harris cautioned there is still work to be done in the teenage-age group.

"Unfortunately, our 12- to-17-year olds are only a little over halfway vaccinated," she said. "So we know we're got room to work there over the next number of months."

Find a COVID-19 vaccination location in Mecklenburg County

Harris said 68% of Mecklenburg County residents eligible for a vaccine are fully vaccinated, a term currently defined as two weeks after the second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine shot - or two weeks since the single Johnson & Johnson shot. Booster shots are encouraged for some individuals but currently do not define whether or not someone is fully vaccinated.

Booster shots in Mecklenburg County 

Booster shots for all three vaccines -- the Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J -- are currently available in Mecklenburg County.

RELATED: Health care providers, pharmacies offer Moderna, J&J boosters

"So if you've had a J&J vaccine two months ago or longer, it's recommended that you do get a booster," Harris encouraged again Thursday ."It can be any of the three."

Anyone, regardless of age or demographic, who previously received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is eligible for a booster. 

RELATED: Yes, you can now ‘mix and match’ the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots in the US

For Pfizer and Moderna, boosters are available to individuals who meet any of the following:

  • Who had their last vaccine shot more than 6 months ago
  • Are 65 years of age or older
  • Are between the ages of 18 and 64 and have certain medical conditions
  • Are between the ages of 18 and 64 and are at a high risk of exposure because of employment or institutional settings

In the last two weeks, 20,000 booster doses have been given in Mecklenburg County. More people are getting third doses than initial doses.

RELATED: All 3 COVID-19 boosters are available: Here's who is eligible for the shot

Free COVID-19 testing kits at select libraries

Starting Nov. 1, four Mecklenburg County library locations will offer free COVID-19 at-home test kits.

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The kits will be provided while supplies last and will be prioritized for community members who are:

  • Unable to obtain testing through other methods AND
  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 disease OR believe they may have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19.

These individuals are asked to not enter the library upon collection. Instead, they are asked to park in designated parking spots, follow instructions on adjacent signs, and a library staffer will meet you outside. 

The kits are available at these four library locations that these times:

  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – West Boulevard
    • 2157 West Blvd, Charlotte
    • Mon & Wed: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
    • Fri: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Hickory Grove
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – South Boulevard
    • 4429 South Blvd, Charlotte
    • Tues & Thurs: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Sat: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Sugar Creek
    • 4045 North Tryon St, Suite A, Charlotte
    • Tues & Thurs: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
    • Sat: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Halloween COVID-19 safety precautions

Mecklenburg County public health officials said fall activities, including Halloween celebrations, are safest outdoors. They offered the following tips:

  • Wear a mask
  • Trick or treat in small groups
  • Encourage participation in outdoor events instead of indoor events
  • If you're eligible, get vaccinated

"We are much more encouraging of people to participate in Halloween this year than last year," Harris said. 

North Carolina health officials said this week that 71% of adults are at least partially vaccinated, with 67% of adults being fully vaccinated. Less than half of eligible 12- to 17-year-olds are vaccinated, according to state data. 

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