ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – About 1,000 people ages 75 and older received the COVID-19 vaccine in Nash County at a free clinic.
Marie and Les Mullins were first in line for it.
“We just felt like it was important to get here early,” said Marie Mullins. “I think the wait will be well worth it considering what we’re getting, and at no cost.”
They arrived at Nash Central High School at 6 a.m., which was seven hours before the clinic started. They were happy they did.
Health officials had 1,000 doses to administer. They said about 800 people were already in line an hour before the clinic began.
The line of cars spilled out over a mile away from the site.
“We were expecting a very big response to today, and that’s exactly what we’re experiencing,” said Nash County health director Bill Hill.
Anticipating a wait, the Harvard family showed up in style in an RV.
“We have our own bathroom. We have our own coffee pot in here and snacks, and refrigerator,” said Jan Harvard.
They even debated camping out the night before.
“I have a big cruise booked in April, providing it’s not canceled, and (my husband) wouldn’t go without a vaccination,” Harvard said.
Along with the trip, she and others said their children pushed for them to get the vaccine.
“My daughter calls every hour. That was her that was just calling,” Mullins said.
Nancy Rhodes drove from Charlotte to make sure her mom who lives in Nash County got hers.
“She’s 85 years old. She lives alone. I’m working in health care. I know how important this vaccine is,” Rhodes said.
Health officials tallied how many people were in line before the clinic started so they could turn people away sooner rather than later. It still backed up traffic all day around Nash Central High School.
Hill apologized to people for the wait and said they plan to structure it differently in the future.
“I think we do have to get to appointments,” Hill said. “This is really tough on people to have to wait this long. It’s important and all that, but if we can get an online appointment system and work with folks who don’t have the online capabilities, I think that would be a much better way to do that.”
Everyone who received their shot Thursday waited 15 to 30 minutes to make sure they didn’t have a bad reaction. They’ll have to get the second shot in three weeks.
“We’ve been counting numbers. We’ve been doing contact tracing since March and April, but this is the real time — the show starts and get the shots in the arm,” Hill said.