CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina has surpassed 8,000 COVID-19 deaths with hospitalizations pushing health care systems to the brink. It comes as the Tarheel State struggles to ramp up vaccine distribution.
State health officials announced Thursday they would expand vaccination to anyone 65 years or older, including all health care workers. The new guidance comes in response to growing concerns that the previous plan was too complicated and slowed distribution.
"We are definitely hearing the message about simplicity and speed," Dr. Mandy Cohen said.
But now the change in plans has bumped several people out of their original spot to get the vaccine.
Jennifer Williams is 36 years old. She has a heart condition, asthma, and multiple rare medical conditions.
"I think people have this misconception that only old people are high risk and chronically ill and disabled and that's false," Williams said.
Williams says she was in Group 2 originally, now she's in Group 4, which means she'll have to wait even longer to get the vaccine.
"It doesn't make any sense to me, if you want to save lives then why are you taking it away from the people who are actually dying -- we're the ones who aren't going to survive this," Williams said.
President-Elect Joe Biden recently promised to deliver 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency. He plans to use FEMA and the National Guard to create more vaccination sites and resources, to speed up the sluggish process.
Until then, Williams hopes change is coming.
"We've been waiting and quarantined in our home because our mortality risk is so high if we catch COVID," Williams said. "I'm hoping that they realize this was an error in judgment and that they will move us back up the list."