MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – North Carolina has given out more than half a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says North Carolina is among the top ten states in the country, but some seniors in Mecklenburg County are frustrated that they still can’t get an appointment for their shot.
Appointments filled up in just hours on Thursday, and the first three weeks of February are already full for Mecklenburg County Public Health.
“That is our goal…to run out of vaccines each week before our next shipment comes and that’s what we have directed our local health departments,” Dr. Cohen said.
Several FOX 46 viewers called in Thursday, saying they couldn’t get through or the website kept crashing.
So FOX 46’s Robin Kanady gave it a shot, to try and understand what seniors are experiencing. She got hung up on once, and the second time was put in place to leave a message.
FOX 46 wanted to understand what’s going on with supply because counties keep saying they just can’t keep up with demand.
“I’m not surprised, they don’t know what they’re getting next week, that’s because they haven’t gotten their allocation, now we are trying to forecast out for our local hospitals so they know how to plan,” Dr. Cohen said.
Another county explained the state allotment program this way: Counties are given vaccine by the state based on a population range, so a more populous county on the high end of that range may be given the same amount as a county with a smaller population.
The vaccine also can’t be split up, because it comes in boxes to keep all the doses together at a certain temperature.
“Our guidance to our vaccine providers is don’t waste any doses. If you are at the end of the day, keep a waitlist so you can call someone who does fit those priority categories. You don’t ever have to waste it.”
In a statement to FOX 46, Mecklenburg County Public Health said “We continue to work with our IT department to improve our ability to schedule appointments. We have added staff both teams that answer calls and return voicemails. If calling the hotline to make an appointment, please be patient and leave a message if prompted. Calls are being returned throughout the day. If using the website appointment system, it is moving slower than usual due to the high volume of traffic to the website. Please be patient and continue to follow the steps to book an appointment.”