When can people over 65 get a COVID-19 vaccine? NCDHHS reviews new CDC guidance

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- NCDHHS officials are continuing to review new CDC guidance, which would expand vaccinations for people 65 and older, or younger than 65 with certain comorbidities.

"We are very much thinking about incorporating the new federal guidance, but every time we do that, it changes up the planning we've done so far," said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

Cohen added they hoped to have a more firm impact about potential application and impact by the end of the week.

The guidance came down Tuesday; shortly after, Governor Cooper noted that federal officials have "continued to shift their advice" when it comes to groupings.

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Dr. Cameron Wolfe, an infectious disease specialist at Duke, agreed with the CDC's new recommendations.

"It's very clear from all the data in the state that mortality is directly proportional to age. And there's no hard and fixed cut off where mortality jumps at 65 or 70. It's quite clear that it escalates exponentially at a certain tier," said Dr. Wolfe.

Hospitalization rates have also shown proportionality with age; on Friday, 62% of patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 were 60 and older.

"I think broadening the group of older adults for whom this can be offered by including people who are naturally at high risk makes complete sense," said Wolfe.

Wolfe believes expanding the grouping classifications will improve vaccination rates.

"What needs to happen now is we need to be able to make some operational changes on the ground and on the state level to accomplish that," said Wolfe.

Vaccination rates have varied county-by-county due to numerous factors, ranging from available supplies to respective population make-up.

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