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‘I’m relieved’ | Homebound vaccination program gives more access to life saving shots

Many vaccine providers were using the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for these types of programs. Now, they have to pivot.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given in North Carolina.

Vaccine providers are moving forward and making progress, now 1 in 4 people in the state are now fully vaccinated, despite the pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines earlier this week.

Even though supply has grown, and health officials say the pause will not have a huge impact on the supply, it's still tough for some people to get a vaccine, simply because they cannot go to a clinic.

Health departments across the area are making it easier for them by bringing the shots directly to their homes.

RELATED: VERIFY: Were COVID-19 vaccines originally developed for SARS, MERS?

On Thursday, precious, lifesaving cargo made its way around Rowan County. Like everyone else, the pandemic completely changed Bruce Strong’s life.

“Basically, just staying here at the house,” Strong said of the last year.

Rowan County Emergency Services bringing the first dose of the Moderna vaccine to his house because he relies on public transportation to get around.

“The bus used to run twice a week but now it cut back to only one time a week you can go,” he said.

They did the same for nine other people today. The homebound vaccination program vital to equitable distribution.

RELATED: 'A lot of people are scared' | COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy increases after Johnson & Johnson pause

“They can't get out. They can't get their family members out. And just knowing that we'll come to their home and vaccinate them and then come back in a month and re-vaccinate them, it’s just been a blessing,” Sally Rogers, a paramedic with Rowan County EMS said.

The convenience and comfort bring relief to families who have struggled throughout the pandemic.

For Jenetta Robertson, getting her wheelchair-bound son Damien a shot was a top priority.

“I want to do everything I can to keep him safe because I do have people in and out, I have home healthcare. I just want to do the very best I can to protect him and I’m so blessed y’all are able to come out in the home,” Roberston said. “That’s just another task I don't have to worry about trying to get him to."

It's why homebound vaccinations are such an important part of the distribution plans. Several counties in the area have the programs in place.

In Rowan County, they are giving the Moderna shot.

“There’s another person with me, we're able to do five shots apiece because once we draw up the vaccine it only lasts 6 hours,” Rogers said. But they have to go back and do it all again in a month.

RELATED: VERIFY: What you need to know if you've already got your J&J shot

It's why the Johnson & Johnson shot was perfect for people who may not be easy to reach or hesitant. While the use of the J&J vaccine is on hold, the Mecklenburg County Health Department will adjust to get to the 70 homebound people scheduled this week.

“Switching to Pfizer or Moderna obviously adds to the number of resources that we need to put into it. So, I think it’s just recognizing that right now, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the vaccines that are available,” Dr. Meg Sullivan, the Medical Director for the county said. “We’ve always said take the vaccines that are available to you.”

For so many, any vaccine is a shot of hope.

“I’m relieved, I really am. I'm relieved,” Roberston said. 

For those who may need a homebound vaccination in Rowan County, call 980-432-1800; Option 1.

In Mecklenburg County, fill out this request form.

RELATED: Almost 1 million South Carolina residents have completed the COVID-19 vaccination process

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan.