CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vaccine providers continue to get as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible. But as North Carolina moves into group 3, vaccine providers have to manage a larger population without a larger supply.
“I feel very relieved, very happy,” said Helen Fowler after her first shot.
After nearly a year of isolation and fear, the COVID-19 vaccine offers a shot of hope.
“I’m feeling good I’ve gotten my first shot and that's really a blessing. I've been waiting,” said Ruby Landeau.
More than half of the people 65 and older in North Carolina have been vaccinated but thousands are still waiting for their chance to feel that relief. And now, there’s more competition to get an appointment.
“The demand for vaccine far outstrips that supply and continues to do that, especially as we open up more and more groups that become eligible to receive that vaccine,” said John Howard with Novant Health.
Novant Health moved its vaccination site to East Independence Boulevard. It’s easily accessible by public transportation and closer to some of our underserved communities.
On Thursday, the second-day school employees of any age are eligible, CMS and Novant Health partnered to offer some appointments for staff members.
Atrium Health shared its playbook on mass vaccination sites with the Biden Administration and the governors of every state. A big part of it is making distribution equitable.
“Every single time we do an event that is one of the first things we think about it and it really comes down to targeting those populations and making it easy for them to come in,” said Dr. Scott Rissmiller with Atrium Health.
This weekend, Atrium Health will give 20,000 second-dose vaccines at Bank of America Stadium.
But some people in groups 1 and 2 who have not been vaccinated now worry about getting left behind.
Tryon Medical Partners CEO Dr. Dale Owen thinks his practice could help.
“We’ve been very well prepared for this from the very beginning,” said Dr. Owen.
They have the necessary freezers and are approved to give the shots but they’ve only gotten 200 doses, and they came from the Mecklenburg County Health Department. Owen thinks the hospitals have done a good job but that the state should utilize the entire medical sector.
"We have to work on it altogether. It’s the entire medical community that needs to be involved in this process because we can do it more efficiently and more rapidly,” he said.
In North Carolina, most people dying from COVID-19 are 65 or older, it’s why that age group was prioritized for vaccinations.
More than 35,000 people who get care from Tryon Medical Partners are 65 or older, many of them still waiting to
“There’s a significant trust factor regarding the vaccine. If you look at studies of who the patients trust it’s primarily their primary care physician,” he said.
It’s another example of supply and demand issues interfering with vaccine distribution.
Gov. Roy Cooper stressed that vaccine providers should still be targeting people in groups 1 and 2, despite moving into group 3.