Push on to vaccinate students before school starts back up

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Statewide data shows COVID-19 vaccinations had been declining in North Carolina since early June, but there was an increase last week of 17% from the week before.

Most of that increase was driven by a spike in people getting their first shots -- nearly 60,000 people.

Meanwhile, there's a push to vaccinate students ages 12 and older before they go back to school.

WakeMed Health & Hospitals is planning a Back to School Blitz, a large vaccination clinic for those ages 12 and older. It's an opportunity for students to get their COVID-19 vaccines before school starts.

A spokesperson for WakeMed said they anticipate administering at least 450 shots. She said appointments were already booked up but that they are accepting limited walk-ins and that overflow would be able to get their shots at the Wake County health department building right down the street.

About 100 people got their COVID-19 shots at a vaccination clinic at Clayton High School on Friday thanks to a partnership between the Johnston County Health Department, the Town of Clayton and the high school.

Twin 16-year-old sisters Angela and Maria Camila Varela got their COVID-19 shots there. They will start in-person instruction at Clayton High in less than a month.

"We're going back to school, and I think it'd just be a little bit safer if we got the vaccine," Maria Camila said.

Angela agreed.

"The cases are rising and people are getting more and more sick, and I just thought it would be the best option, just to be safe," Angela said.

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Clayton High is part of Johnston County Public Schools, where masks will be optional for students and staffers inside schools.

Clayton High sophomore Evan Orner got his shot at the high school.

"School had it open now and they're doing it, so why not get it out of the way," Evan said of the convenience of getting his shot at his school.

He is encouraging other students to get their shots before school.

"So you don't have a chance to spread it even more if people at school don't have it," Evan said.

His dad, Tracy, also rolled up his sleeve. They both contracted COVID-19 in April. Tracy said he's concerned about the more contagious Delta variant.

"With the variants coming, it seems we thought we were getting better and it seems like we're stuck in the same rut, maybe with the more dangerous strain," he said.

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