Universities hold vaccination events as eligibility expands to teens 16 and older

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Triangle providers held vaccination events Wednesday, coinciding with the beginning of eligibility for Group 5.

All North Carolinians 16 and older can now get their vaccine, with doctors encouraging younger people, including students, to get their shots.

One of those events took place at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium on Shaw University's campus in Raleigh, where students and staffers were eligible to get their shots.

"It is important for me to get it so that way, not only can I help encourage my peers here on this fine campus to go out and get it and protect themselves, it also plays a major role for my family and my friends back home that this virus has impacted so many, and that it is important that you go out there and get it so that way you can protect yourself," said Tyrese Perry, the income Student Government Association President at Shaw.

The Wake County Public Health Department partnered with the university, providing 400 single-dose Johnson and Johnson shots.

"We knew that the one-shot from Johnson and Johnson was an ideal shot for our student population, one and done vs. them taking a shot now and then wondering if they were going to get the second shot when they get home," said Keith Powell, the Vice President of Student Affairs at Shaw.

North Carolina received more than 600,000 doses for the first time this week, including nearly 150,000 Johnson and Johnson shots, also a high.

"Previously having COVID, I was like I got nothing to fear at this point because it did its number on me," said Biance Wilburn, a Shaw student who got her vaccine Wednesday morning.

Wilburn, who is also Miss Shaw, explained why it was important she sign up.

"If I can take this vaccine that's out here that's preventative, I'm going to take the step to where I don't need to wear this mask anymore," Wilburn said.

Perry is hopeful the large on-campus event would help dispel misinformation about the vaccine's safety.

"I believe that it has impacted our culture to the point that they don't want to get it because they believe these rumors. And to see that this on (an) HBCU campus and that Black students and that students from all over are getting this, this will play a major role," Perry said.

Through Tuesday, 26.6% of adults in North Carolina are fully vaccinated, and 12.3% of adults are partially vaccinated. For tracking purposes, NCDHHS classifies adults as people 18 and older, even though vaccines are now available to those 16 and older.

However, only the Pfizer version is authorized for people younger than 18, meaning 16 and 17-year-olds need to double-check which vaccine is available before signing up.

"Our vaccine finder at yourspotyourshot.nc.gov provides brand information to help young adults find where they can get their Pfizer vaccine shot," said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

That website allows you to search by ZIP code, city, or current location, and filter by the three different vaccine types.

On Wednesday morning, Johnston County announced that it had reached capacity at a drive-thru vaccine event at North Johnston High by 8:30 a.m., and Wake County Public Health added it had 6,000 sign-ups from people in Group 5 since Monday.

On Thursday, student leaders, athletes, and Greek life members at Fayetteville State University will receive their vaccines in an event on-campus.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.