More than 13,000 currently eligible residents await COVID-19 vaccine in Carteret County

Emily Vance, a High Point University pharmacy student and intern at Carteret Health Care, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine during a previous mass vaccination clinic at Newport Middle School. (Cheryl Burke photo)

BEAUFORT — With changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan announced this week, Carteret County health officials say they are doing what they can with the limited supply of vaccines they’ve been provided to get through an extensive waitlist of residents who want the shot.

The County Health Department has partnered with Carteret Health Care and other local providers to offer mass vaccination clinics as the primary way of vaccinating the county’s 65 and older population. The county has hosted two clinics, so far, and a third mass vaccination clinic is scheduled for Saturday.

To date, more than 5,000 people in Carteret County have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but County Emergency Services Director Stephen Rea said the demand still far outpaces supply. He informed the County Board of Commissioners Monday evening there are around 13,000 people on the waitlist to receive a vaccine.

“A lot of the reason that the waitlist is not going down is because there is a lack of vaccine coming into the county,” he said during the board’s regular monthly meeting held at the administration complex in Beaufort. “We have a lot more demand for vaccination than we have vaccines coming into the county.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday the state would only be getting 120,000 doses of vaccine for the coming week, less than half the amount the state received in previous weeks. Some of that supply will be diverted to large-scale vaccination clinics that were planned previously, leaving some local health agencies with little to no vaccine for the coming week.

“As long as we are getting such a small amount of vaccine as a state, there are going to be challenges and shortages as we try to ensure equitable access to vaccine, while getting shots into arms quickly. We understand this is hard for providers who are doing everything right,” NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said.

In a Tuesday release, Carteret County officials said the county and CHC still anticipate receiving the 1,375 doses they were allocated for the coming week. The county did not respond to further News-Times questions about the future availability of vaccines as the state shifts its plans.

North Carolina officials announced other changes to the state’s vaccine allocation process are coming soon, as well. Carteret County Consolidated Human Services Director Cindy Holman said, based on a call with the state she attended Monday, that includes moving to a population-based allocation model in the future, with a limited number of vaccines set aside for marginalized groups as identified by the state.

County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Ed Wheatly pointed out Carteret County’s population skews older, with around 27% of residents 75 years or older. Commissioners asked Ms. Holman to request the state take that into account when allocating vaccines.

“You certainly can request it,” she said, but added it likely will not help the county receive a larger share.  

Health officials have also complained the state’s current allocation process makes it difficult to plan ahead for vaccination appointments and mass clinics because the amount of vaccines received varies from week to week. Kim Davis, public health nursing supervisor with the health department, explained the weekly process.

“As we move into the next upcoming week, the way that the state allocates (vaccines), we typically find out on either Thursday evening or Friday how much allocation we will be receiving for the following week,” she said.  “It makes it very challenging to schedule clinics.”

The county typically receives its shipment for the week Tuesday or Wednesday and aims to exhaust the supply by the following Monday.

CHC CEO Harvey Case said the hospital is experiencing similar challenges in scheduling appointments based on the weekly allocation.

“From week to week we never really know what we’re getting, so that’s one of the challenges we face,” he said during a CHC Board of Directors meeting Monday.

The county is still accepting requests from eligible residents to be placed on the waitlist for a vaccine. To do so, fill out the form found at carteretcountync.gov/vaccine or call 252-728-8550, option 2. The county advises individuals on the waitlist to answer calls from unknown numbers as it may be staff calling to schedule an appointment.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

(13) comments

David Collins

This will only get worse . Guess these folks are still awaiting their first jab. What is going to happen when those already vaccinated need their second jab ? It is not like they can wait 6 or more months . Anyone think of that yet ? Will they have to start over ? At that rate no one will be protected and this fiasco could go on forever .

This is a prime example of why you can not rely on government to get anything right . They really do not care and it shows .

mpjeep

Yes, David, I have been thinking about the vaccination being available for 2nd shot. My 2nd is scheduled for Feb 8th. Hope it's there.

drewski

I have read there is no end date for the second shot, ideal is 3 4 weeks but its not critical for the 95% immunity provided by second shot. Johnson and Johnson has a 1 shot deal coming soon.

Patience, masks and common sense and this too shall pass.

David Collins

That is the problem drew , way too much info , real or speculation , floating about with not much consistent consensus about anything . The spacing between jabs needs to be consistent and adequate supplies for jab #2 be on hand . No gussying around . Different brands may or may not be compatible but I would stick with what I had first . Have checked with my primary and was told don’t do it quite yet due to factors he preferred not to go into detail on . Basically this is the Wild West of medicine and clarity is missing . The politicians want to put a sunny side up on this then flub de dub most everything they do but insist they are fighting for you . Yeah , sure they are , right after they get their series of jabs .

mpjeep

Yea, David, my doctor advised that I hold off for now. I initially said I would hold off, but then I realized I’ve spent my life being about preventative maintenance, whether it be for me, my car or my house.

Time will tell if I made a good decision.

Wildman

How many of our of residents 75 years or older are still on the wait list?

mpjeep

Not sure, Wild. I'm 67 and got called for the shot on Jan 19th.

dc

Similar situation jeep except during recent check-up my doc encouraged taking it. He and several others had it 2 days before with just little soreness. Older brother in large retirement complex in Va. said same. Wife put on doc's list. Gut told me to wait but it's all chance so went ahead same time as wife. Not sure if other reasons like taking large doses of vitamin D or something else but haven't felt "normal" past few days. Another brother knows of nurses who experienced some real side effects on 2nd one. So not looking forward to it but too late to back out. Brother gets #2 next week. Interested in how his goes.

mpjeep

Yes, dc, I was really torn as to what to do. I did research on 2nd shot and many, many people, including Dr Fauci, had chills and fever for a day or two after 2nd shot.

I just had a sore arm for a couple of days after 1st shot. My 2nd shot is scheduled for Feb 8th. Will let all know how it turns out.

David Collins

Seeing I have an autoimmune problem , RA , think I will err on the side of caution . Days are numbered as it is so why speed up the clock ? Will just have to stay in prison a while longer .

mpjeep

After I received my first Covid shot, I was given a sheet of people and asked that I download a V-Safe tool to my smartphone, so that the CDC could track my experience.

I actually passed on doing this…..Big Brother probably knows too much about me anyway and I wanted to steer clear of the mark of the beast.

mpjeep

Seems odd to me, but there are 10 states in the US with No mask mandates.

Surfmom

Pretty obvious it’s a political choice when one is chooses...We’ve been waiting since the first day to submit registration and we are 77 and we have still NOT been Called, texted or emailed.

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