CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Wednesday, some 2.9 million more people will become eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina. Demand is still outpacing the supply and there's a desperate need for more providers to help get shots in arms.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen issued a secretarial order this month allowing dentists to help give out vaccines.
Dentists regularly give shots in their offices. Now, Cohen has cut through some red tape so it can be all hands on deck to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Like so many others, Dr. Drew Hines had to re-think everything at his dental practice.
“We’ve lengthened appointment times, so we have more time to clean the rooms, we've had to institute screenings for patients,” Hines said.
He got his COVID-19 vaccine and can see the light of the tunnel. He wants to help others feel the same sense of relief, so he plans to volunteer at clinics.
“We give a lot of injections all day and I think giving a vaccine takes additional training but it’s definitely something we're capable of doing to help with the vaccine response,” he said.
Hines is going through state and CDC training so he can give his time and expertise when it's needed most.
“I think that’s the only way we get out of this," Hines said. "If everyone works together, we all work towards getting through this pandemic. I think having more people administering the vaccine the better, the quicker we can get people vaccinated the quicker it’s going to be over."
Hines said he is hoping to volunteer with one of the hospital systems or county health departments.
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.