KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - A youth-led organization is hosting two COVID-19 vaccination clinics on Thursday and Gov. Roy Cooper stopped by for a tour.
Kinston Teens is hosting the clinics to give out first vaccination doses and booster shots. The event will also feature music, educational resources and mask and hand sanitizer giveaways. The events are happening at the following locations:
Cooper thanked the healthcare workers who he says are having to shoulder a lot of the burden of the pandemic.
“One of the reasons why I am here and one of the reasons we are working so hard is we want to keep people who catch COVID from getting severely ill, from having to go to the ICU, and from dying. It can be a real love letter to healthcare workers for people to get vaccinated and boosted," said Gov. Roy Cooper.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley also toured the clinic and spoke at the event. He said there have been more than 11,000 cases of COVID-19 in Lenoir County since the start of the pandemic and 600 in the last week alone.
“Unfortunately the omicron variant is incredibly contagious,” Kinsley said.
“We’re focused on doing three things. We want to save lives, we want to save hospital capacity for every emergency, and we want to keep our kids in the classroom. Seeing what we’re seeing here today is exactly how we do that," said Kody Kinsley, NCDHHS secretary.
Cooper echoed Kinsley’s thoughts on keeping children in schools. “Keeping children safely in the classroom is one of the most important things that we have to do,” Cooper said.
The governor also spoke of the importance of communities like Kinston that build up each other and work to keep each other safe, informed, and engaged in society.
One Lenoir County healthcare worker and caregiver got her booster shot at the event, and urged others to do the same.
“This is very serious, and everyone needs to be precautious,” said Tonia Hawkins. “Everyone needs to booster up if you haven’t gotten your booster yet.”
Kinston Teens, which focuses on empowering young people through service, leadership, and civic engagement, has been working to fight the pandemic since March of 2020.
CEO Chris Suggs says they plan to continue their work to support the community throughout the year.
“We’ve been working very hard as a community, here in Kinston, to navigate this crisis and we’ve done a lot of it because of the support and the investments of our state leadership,” said Suggs.
After Cooper visited the Holloway Community Center, the Kinston Teens team moved their PPE distribution to the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library.
We are excited to continue making the COVID-19 vaccines available to our community, and be on the frontlines helping Kinston navigate this deadly pandemic. It is proven that vaccines and booster shots help prevent serious illness, death, and further mutations of the virus, and we want our neighbors to be protected," said Chasity Pate, coordinator of the organization’s COVID-19 response.
For more information, click here or call (252) 522-8012. Appointments or pre-registration are not required.