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North Carolina moves to limit out-of-state access to vaccines




Raleigh, North Carolina (AP) — North Carolina is shifting vaccine distribution guidance to discourage people from traveling long distances to receive COVID-19 shots within the state.

North Carolina has enacted a stricter immunization policy to improve access to North Carolina vaccines under the latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to clarify travel policies.

“It is permissible not to provide vaccines to temporary travelers who do not live, work, or spend significant time in North Carolina to promote North Carolina’s public health goals,” said the State Department of Health and Human Services. Stated in a statement. ..

The move aims to prioritize residents in the state who have struggled to book and seek shots due to high demand, but loopholes still leave people with IDs, proof of residence, or employment. Proof. People living outside the state can also explain to their vaccination managers that they are eligible for injections because they work in North Carolina, spend a significant amount of time, or continue to receive ongoing medical care in the state. I will.

As of last week, more than 27,000 people from other states have been vaccinated in North Carolina, according to state health officials. The new guidance was first reported by WRAL and confirmed by the Associated Press.

The email received by the AP shows the communication between the State Health Department and the CDC. In a February 9 message, the CDC told North Carolina authorities, “The state prevents residents of the state, not temporary travelers who do not reside in the state, to protect the public health of their residents. We may decide that we need to limit vaccinations. “

South Carolina Health Director Edward Shimmer told state legislators Tuesday morning that the state did not require a proof of residence for the shot, and the majority of people who took the shot lived in South Carolina. Said.

Many people turn to North Carolina in the midst of frustration in their home state.

For 68-year-old Lance Garrett, the booking process was difficult. He called and navigated an online system that he thought was “ridiculous” and found that he could not be vaccinated until mid-April. Dissatisfied with the process, mountains. Residents of Pleasant, South Carolina, acted on the advice of their neighbors about Charlotte’s mass vaccination clinic and allowed older people outside the state to be vaccinated.

Late one Saturday night in January, Garrett returned to his computer and updated his web page before going to bed. Surprisingly, a series of openings appeared. The next morning, he got into his car and traveled to the Carolina Panthers Football Stadium in North Carolina for three hours.

Despite a long walk from the parking lot, the on-site process couldn’t go any further. Since then, he has booked multiple second dose reservations, but is currently planning to get a second Moderna Shot at a pharmacy near Charleston, South Carolina. He did not violate any rules when crossing state borders, but questioned the ethics of his decision before the final trip.

His advice to others who are struggling to get vaccinated: “Don’t pay attention to the rules. If you can make 3 reservations, make 3 reservations and are not yet eligible If so, please cancel. “


This story has been modified to note that Garrett lives in the mountains. Pleasant, South Carolina, not Charleston, South Carolina. He plans to get a second vaccination in Charleston.


The Associated Press / Report of American author Michelle Liu contributed to this report from Columbia, South Carolina.


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Anderson is a corps member of the Associated Press / US State Capitol News Initiative Report Report. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on unreported issues.

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