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Mecklenburg County COVID-19 vaccination appointments fill up quickly

Mecklenburg County will provide vaccinations over 18 days in February to adults age 65 and older. The appointments filled up within hours Thursday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Just hours after accepting appointments for adults 65 and older for COVID-19 vaccinations, all of Mecklenburg County's open slots were filled for the month of February. 

Previously, Mecklenburg County was only accepting appointments for adults 75 and older, and those slots filled up quickly. County health leaders acknowledged it was difficult for many people to get through but they still encourage eligible adults to keep trying. The county began taking appointments at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. By noon, all of the slots were filled. 

County officials say they were flooded with calls and traffic on its website, people telling WCNC Charlotte they had to refresh the page multiple times for it to work.

But it wasn't all bad for everyone.

"I just gave a call and my goodness the first ring, Portia picked up and she was awesome. It was so easy and I'm just really appreciative," said Cindy Folsom. She was shocked she was able to get an appointment without much trouble.

She said she got lucky. Folsom is 67 so this was her first opportunity to get an appointment.

"We're grandparents and parents and I just want to make sure that we're protected and get back to a life where we don't have to be so worried about the virus," she said.

Health Director Gibbie Harris said once the appointments are filled, that's it until the county receives more supply. North Carolina reported 7,187 new cases Thursday afternoon. According to DHHS data, there are 3,666 people hospitalized statewide with 8,339 deaths linked to the virus.

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Harris said about 80,000 people are eligible for this round of vaccinations. Harris said Mecklenburg County is prepared to make the scheduling process as smooth as possible. 

"We know these appointments are going to go quickly but we're trying to accommodate people as quickly as we can as those calls come in," Harris said. 

With vaccines in short supply, there are questions about how the second dose will be administered. Harris said anyone who receives the first dose will have access to the second dose. Neither vaccine is most effective without both doses.

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"We will not be using the second doses inappropriately," Harris said. "We want to make sure those who have the first dose will have the second dose available when it's their time."