Former NC Gov. Jim Hunt Gets COVID-19 Vaccine As Health Officials Try To Speed Up Distribution

Jan 6, 2021

Stacy Wilson of the Wilson County Health Department injects former Gov. Jim Hunt with his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
Credit Will Michaels / WUNC

The state health department is encouraging more coordination between local health departments and doctors' offices to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The state's newest vaccine guidance also outlines how local providers could staff their offices as people 75 and older are now eligible to get the shots.

Former Gov. Jim Hunt, 83, and his wife, Carolyn, were among a group of public officials who got their first doses Wednesday. Jim Hunt said the vaccine could soon help people reunite with loved ones in person. 

"The best thing we can do about it is to get both shots, and then move on and bring normalcy back to North Carolina," Hunt said. "We can do that. This is how you do it. Get the shot."

The Hunts got their vaccinations in Wilson County, where the local health department expects to vaccinate up to 150 older adults twice a week.

State health officials have been promoting the safety of the vaccines based on trial results, but in recent polls up to 20% of North Carolinians said they would not get the shot.

"You need to understand these vaccines are built upon years of work to develop vaccines for similar viruses," said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, "Like all vaccines, they were rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness."

As of Wednesday, the CDC says 137,198 people in North Carolina have gotten at least one of the two required doses.