LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) — Hospital officials in Robeson County are gearing up for a clinic Thursday in South Lumberton where hundreds are expected to get vaccinated.
The clinic comes as North Carolina’s vaccine program gradually expands– opening to educators next Wednesday. State officials said last week they’re expecting more vaccine to come into North Carolina in the coming weeks.
The state is also tapping into a new resource to help administer doses– dentists. An executive order from Governor Cooper last week makes them eligible to vaccinate.
“This is something that’s great for the community,” Dr. Desirée Walker said. She runs Lumber River Dental in Lumberton.
“We’re waiting to hear from the North Carolina Dental Board to roll out that protocol,” she explained. “Us as dentists can help out our fellow medical colleagues and maybe take some of the burden off of administering the vaccine.”
The extra help couldn’t hurt as the state prepares to begin vaccinating educators.
“I’m actually excited just to have the face-to-face with the students,” Heather Maynor-Lambert said. She’s a teacher at Lumberton Senior High School. Public Schools of Robeson County is starting in-person learning up again March 1.
As an EMT, Maynor-Lambert has already been vaccinated, but agrees the timing works out well.
“It does give me more sense of security,” she said. “With us coming back on March 1 at least they’re able to go and get the first shot in.”
UNC Health Southeastern said it was working to start making appointments for educators for next week.
It’s also partnering with the NAACP for a clinic Thursday for those currently eligible at the Robeson County Fairgrounds.
“We hope to get 500 people vaccinated here on tomorrow,” President of Medical Staff for UNC Health Southeastern Dr. Robin Peace said. “When we look at the percentages of people that have been vaccinated in Robeson County, African Americans are at the bottom. And so we really wanted to come to South Lumberton because a lot of African Americans live in South Lumberton.”
Hospital officials said as of Wednesday afternoon they still had appointment slots open. But if you’re eligible and stop by the clinic without an appointment, you still should be able to get a shot if there are enough.