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NC COVID-19 vaccine providers deferring new doses as demand continues to wane

The latest NCDHHS vaccine allocation report shows dozens of providers across the state have not requested any shipments of new first or second doses.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Several vaccine providers in North Carolina are refusing new shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine as demand and urgency for the shot wanes.

According to vaccination data from the state's Department of Health and Human Services, the state hit its vaccination peak about a month ago. The last week of finalized data, two weeks later, shows vaccinations falling nearly 40%

NCDHHS reports three straight weeks of declining vaccinations.

Vaccine providers like Novant Health are acting accordingly to adjust to demand. Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease specialist with Novant, said the hospital system is considering scaling back hours at some of its vaccine sites.

"The daily vaccination rates have trended down, and there are lots of factors going into that," Priest said. "Even when all our centers are open to walk-ins, we do have reduced traffic."

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Mass vaccination events are starting to go by the wayside. In Mecklenburg County, the public health department intends to shut down mass vaccination efforts at Bojangles Coliseum at the end of the month.

Instead, providers are focusing more on smaller events at businesses or venues where target groups for vaccinations are likely to frequent.

Like dozens of vaccine providers across the state, Novant Health has also begun to refuse new shipments of vaccine to avoid waste.

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan. 

"We did defer again this week," Priest said. "We have about 40,000 doses of vaccine on hand right now. We're not having to throw anything out. We can store those for weeks and months at a time."

Nationwide, the vaccine plans are shifting as well.

The Biden administration will begin changing how it allocates COVID-19 shots to states, moving doses from states with lower demand to those with a stronger interest in vaccines, an administration official said Tuesday.

The change away from a strict by-population allocation comes as demand for the coronavirus vaccines has dropped nationwide. Some states have turned down part or all of their weekly dose allotments. The federal government will now shift some of those doses to areas with higher demand, in an effort to speed shots in those areas.

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram