Bojangles Coliseum mass vaccination site to remain open through July

CHARLOTTE — Bojangles Coliseum, which has been serving as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site since January, was supposed to close on Wednesday, but Channel 9 has learned it will remain open through July 31.

The decision comes as the Delta variant of the virus becomes the dominant threat.

Health experts worry that the more transmissible variant will spread in areas with low vaccination rates, and they also want more young people to get vaccinated.

The CDC said people ages 12-29 account for one-third of the COVID hospitalizations since May.

In North Carolina, fewer than 42% of adults are fully vaccinated, a statistic that has Gov. Roy Cooper worried.

“We know more than two million adult North Carolinians are not yet vaccinated … We’re seeing most all of the people who get sick and die are unvaccinated, so that should send a big signal to everybody that it is time to get vaccinated if you have not.”

A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that most adults who want to get vaccinated, already have. The study found that 65% of the adults surveyed already got one shot.

Fourteen percent said they won’t get vaccinated at all.

A third of those not vaccinated said they’d be more likely to do so if the FDA fully approved a vaccine.

You can still receive a $25 cash cards if you get the vaccine, and you’ll be entered twice into the state’s lottery to win $1 million. The next drawing is next Wednesday.

What parents need to know as Delta variant spreads

The Delta variant has been detected in all 50 states and is spreading across America, on its way to becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain in the next few weeks.

The vaccination plea continues, but what about people who can’t get vaccinated -- like children younger than 12 years old?

Medical experts said there are a few questions parents should be asking themselves.

For people who’ve been vaccinated, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, said, “There is good evidence that you have a high degree of protection against this virus.”

But for those who aren’t vaccinated, Murthy said, “Then you are in trouble.”

So, what about kids younger than 12? There’s no approved vaccine for them yet. Murthy said it depends.

“Is there a lot of virus spreading in your community? Are vaccination rates high or low in your community? Are you in a job, for example, or work setting where you’re exposed to a lot of people who are unvaccinated and who may be carrying the virus and who are unmasked? I think it’s very reasonable for parents to consider wearing a mask.”

“If your kids are old enough to wear masks, then they should when they’re indoors, at least until we can get our arms around this Delta variant,” said Dr. Peter Hotez with Baylor’s College of Medicine. “This requires parents and, really anyone, to have some situational awareness of what their region looks like, what their state looks like, what their county looks like in terms of vaccination rates and delta variants.”

As for when there could be an approved vaccine for kids younger than 12, Hotez said, “An optimistic forecast is by the fall but it may not be till the end of the year, potentially.”

Until then, Murthy said it’s all about vigilance against the virus.

“The virus wins when we let our guard down, when we take our eye off the ball,” he said.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘We feel like it’s time’: Bojangles Coliseum mass vaccination clinic will soon close)