By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Cape Fear Valley Health is making it easier for more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by offering the vaccine to walk-ins with no appointment needed, and providing the Pfizer vaccine which can be given to teens as well as adults.
The healthcare system announced that as of May 10, it is now offering the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to anyone who walks in to one of its multiple vaccine clinic locations.
People seeking to get vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine can go to the pharmacy at Cape Fear Valley’s Hoke hospital Monday, Tuesday or Thursday between 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The pharmacy is located inside the Hoke Pavilion medical office building at 300 Medical Pavilion Drive, Suite 100, off Highway 401. People arriving for a vaccine should pull in the main entrance and follow the instructions for parking in the main lot.
The Pfizer vaccine became the first of the COVID-19 vaccines in the United States authorized for emergency use in children age 12 and up, following a decision Monday from the Food and Drug Administration. The Pfizer vaccine was already authorized for use in people age 16 and up.
Cape Fear Valley Health will offer the Pfizer vaccine to children age 12 and up, the provider said Tuesday in a press release.
“We anticipated and are prepared for the expansion of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 12 to 15,” Vice President of Professional Services Chris Tart said in a statement. “We are glad to see access increased for the Pfizer vaccine to this age group, which is another step in getting the country to herd immunity and ending the pandemic.”
Unlike the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, using special freezers that smaller medical offices don’t always have available. Until now, the Pfizer vaccine was hard to find locally in Hoke County. Most providers have offered the Moderna vaccine, with a few offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Larger hospital systems like Cape Fear Valley Health are typically better equipped with the cold storage needed to be able to handle the Pfizer vaccine.
All of the Cape Fear Valley Health COVID-19 vaccine clinics are accepting walk-in patients, until clinic capacity is reached. The hospital system is also still taking appointments. With the exception of the Bladen Express Care clinic in Elizabethtown, appointments can be made online at www.capefearvalley.com/covid19.
First doses of Moderna will no longer be available, but patients can still receive their second Moderna dose at the same location they received their first dose, according to the healthcare system. Appointments are never required for second doses, but patients are asked to return to the same location where they received their first dose in order to receive their second dose.
The hospital system also has vaccine clinics at Health Pavilion North ExpressCare in North Fayetteville; Bladen Express Care in Elizabethtown; and Center Pharmacy in Downtown Fayetteville.
The Hoke County Health Department is also offering the COVID-19 vaccine to walk-in patients age 18 and up. The department is offering the Moderna vaccine, from 9 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. during the week.
The Hoke County Health Department is located at 683 E. Palmer Street in Raeford. For more information, go to www.readyhoke.org.
Hoke County has seen 102 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, including 50 cases in the last seven days, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. As of April 29 the county was one of 30 statewide in the orange tier for “substantial” community spread, with about 8.3 percent of all COVID-19 tests coming back positive.
Hoke continues lagging behind its neighbors—and all other North Carolina counties—in vaccinations. Although nearly 44 percent of North Carolina’s adult population is fully vaccinated – and over 74 percent of all people age 65 and older in the state are now fully vaccinated – Hoke County’s numbers are far lower.
About 15.6 percent of Hoke residents have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 13.4 percent are fully vaccinated. That’s lower than its neighbors, Cumberland County with 16.8 percent fully vaccinated; Robeson County with 17.6 percent fully vaccinated; Scotland County with 26.4 percent fully vaccinated; and Moore County with 33.2 percent fully vaccinated.