ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — Rowan County residents began lining up before dawn Monday for a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Salisbury.
Just 30 minutes ahead of the 9:30 start time, officials with the Rowan County Health Department had to begin turning seniors away because they'd already reached the limit of vaccines available at the mobile drive-thru clinic.
The county officially moved into Phase 1B and began vaccinating seniors who are over the age of 75 on Monday.
At around noon on Monday, Rowan County announced that their clinic was done for the day, as they ran out of vaccines. The county said they gave out all 200+ doses this morning. The county's PIO said they're not sure when the next shipment will be but thinks sometime later this week.
In total, 210 people were vaccinated and they had to send 60+ cars away this morning.
Over the weekend, health officials said no appointments would be necessary for folks in Rowan County and laid out plans for the drive-thru vaccination clinic.
Other counties have tried the mass vaccination without an appointment and had thousands of cars line up, many waiting for hours.
Several counties in the area are requiring appointments.
"Our take was that when you have a limited supply of vaccine, you need to maintain some level of control of what you have and how you're able to distribute it," said Dennis Joyner, the Union County Public Health Director. He says so far, the county vaccination process has been running smoothly.
Union County Public Health will vaccinate about 350 people every day this week at the office in Monroe.
Every county only gets so much of the vaccine from the state each week, so they are working under that constraint.
"From a public health standpoint, this is a huge lift," said Joyner. "As difficult as it is to be patient for something that we've waited so long for, its understandable that there's going to be some anxiety and frustration. But I encourage people to be patient."
The process in Cabarrus County forced health officials to move the process to one that required appointments. That was welcome news to some residents who were stuck waiting for long periods of time inside their vehicles during a drive-thru clinic in Cabarrus County.
"At my age, I don't want to go through what I've seen my friends go through," said Wanda Williams last week about Cabarrus County moving to an appointment-only process.
More than 1,000 cars showed up for the vaccine clinic last Wednesday at Cabarrus Arena.
"I'm retired but I still don't like to wait," Marcella Beam laughed. She's with the Cabarrus Health Alliance and says the change was necessary.
"While we were very excited to be able to vaccinate over 1,100 people on Wednesday, we realized that you cannot have folks waiting in a car like that. We didn't anticipate that extent of a line," she said.
However, with a more efficient system, came fewer vaccinations.
"Today we have scheduled appointments for 540 to 550 people," she said.
Cars began lining up before 4:30 a.m. in order to among the first to get vaccinated Monday morning in Rowan County.
The county said they will likely continue no appointment vaccine clinics.