CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina just marked a vaccine milestone, with 50% of the state's population considered to be fully vaccinated. It comes roughly eight months after vaccinations began in the state and one week after Pfizer received full FDA approval. The figure is slightly behind the nationwide full-vaccination rate of 52.4%.
According to the state's Health and Human Services vaccine dashboard, vaccine providers have administered roughly 10.5 million doses.
NCDHHS reports that 58% of the state's eligible population, those aged 12 and older, are fully vaccinated, and 60% of adults are fully vaccinated.
Overall vaccinations have been trending upward since July after dropping through April, May, and June. Some providers say demand for the COVID-19 shot grew as concern over the Delta variant rose, summer travel picked up, more businesses and schools issued vaccination requirements.
In an effort to boost lagging shots earlier in the summer, the state offered $1 million prizes through its vaccine lottery. Four adults received the big prize, and four students received $250,000 for college education. The state also gave $25 cash cards, an incentive later boosted to $100 in some locations, for people getting their first shot. The $100 summer card program ends Tuesday, Aug. 31.
"As the more contagious delta variant of the virus is spreading across North Carolina, people should get vaccinated now to protect themselves and their communities," NCDHHS Secretary Mandy. K Cohen said. "With record numbers of people needing ICU care, do not wait to vaccinate."
As it hits the vaccination milestone, North Carolina continues to see its COVID-19 metrics trending upward. While hospitalizations have dropped three days straight, with roughly 150 patients fewer than on Friday, patient counts remain above 3,500. The state's all-time high COVID-19 patient count is 3,992.
As of Monday, 912 patients remain in the ICU, which is five fewer than Saturday's record-setting count.
Patient analyses released by hospitals and health agencies show most of the hospitalizations involve people who are not vaccinated.