Most of the Triangle is still in Phase 1a of North Carolina’s vaccination rollout – vaccinating health workers and people who live and work in long-term care facilities.
Other counties across the state moved to Phase 1b, starting to vaccinate essential workers and senior citizens 75 and older on Wednesday morning.
For several counties, it was a busy morning as essential workers and senior citizens waited hours in line in hopes getting a COVID vaccine.
Halifax, Johnston, Wayne and Alamance Counties all saw long lines Wednesday morning.
Some in line were unable to get a vaccine due to high demand.
“I’m not surprised given how many people over 65 [and] 75 want to get the vaccine, and they should,” said former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. “We have limited supply. Now we need to get a better system in place than making senior citizens wait for hours and in many cases, not even getting the vaccine.”
The federal government sends the vaccines to the state, which then distributes doses to hospitals and county health departments. McClellan said North Carolina is behind when it comes to vaccine distribution, and even more behind on getting people vaccinated.
“The logistics of this are very challenging. We need to work out things like appointment scheduling,” he added.
McClellan said the long lines will continue until there is help, such as the deployment of the National Guard.
“The public health departments are going to need more help. They have very limited resources, limited staff and limited phone lines so as vaccines become more available, people who are administering them and the system supporting the administration need to get ramped up,”
McClellan said it’s great to see the level of interest among many people at risk for COVID but there is still a lot of misinformation that needs to be addressed.
“The evidence is very overwhelming, especially for people in high-risk groups, that the vaccines are safe and effective but a lot of people still have questions,” he added. “We need to take the time, effort and assistance to engage with them so they can make an informed decision.”
McClellan said that just because someone gets the COVID vaccine doesn’t mean they are immune right away.
Health experts urge people to continue to wear a mask until a large percentage of the population is vaccinated.
Health departments need help administering COVID vaccines – WRAL.com