NC Gov. Roy Cooper tours Mecklenburg EMS vaccination site

CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency normally serves as headquarters for the ambulances deployed to help in crisis situations.

However, MEDIC has been providing another life-saving service over the last few weeks, which has been the COVID-19 vaccine.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper praised the clinic at MEDIC in a visit Wednesday to Charlotte to tour the site with local leaders.

“Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic and coming out stronger on the other side,” he said.

Cooper said the state is on track to ditch capacity and mass-gathering restrictions in less than a month. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she’s eager to see a return to normalcy in the Queen City.

“We have the opportunity to actually bring back summer,” she said. “When our hospitality industry and restaurants are able to be open and have people in, it changes the entire dynamic for a city like ours.”

Last night, Mecklenburg County leaders vented about a lack of good data from the state.

[PAST COVERAGE: Meck County leaders address everchanging COVID-19 response]

The ZIP code breakdown unveiled last week was three weeks old.

[PAST COVERAGE: New data shows big gaps in COVID-19 vaccination rates in Meck County neighborhoods]

State leaders said improvements to updating data are coming this week.

“Our data teams are always making improvements because the data drives our work,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile, leaders are working hard to battle hesitancy surrounding the shot. Cooper said it’s a problem playing out across the country. If just 16% more residents were to get a dose, the indoor mask mandate would be lifted.

[Need a vaccine appointment? Channel 9′s Joe Bruno tracks open slots]

“Right now, there is a vaccination for everyone in North Carolina,” he said. “It is easy. It is everywhere, and it is free.”

Despite supply exceeding demand, Cohen said the state is in a good place and is not at risk at having to return doses to the federal pool for redistribution.