Hargett: Onslow County can’t take additional appointments until more COVID-19 vaccines are shipped

Jacksonville

(Kayla Schmidt, WNCT photo)

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Onslow County Assistant Manager Glenn Hargett said the county won’t be able to take appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations until it receives additional shipments of it.

The vaccine is currently available for anyone age 65 or older. Many areas of the state, including counties east of Raleigh and rural counties, have expressed frustration about how the vaccine has been distributed. The state recently said more vaccines would go to larger distribution locations in areas like the Triad, Triangle and Charlotte.

On Monday, health officials spoke with the secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, to express their frustrations. She issued an apology about how the distribution was going and, along with Gov. Roy Cooper, assured officials more work was being done to make sure those who need the vaccine get it.

“Until more is known about future allocations of vaccine for Onslow County, the Onslow Citizens Phone Bank will be unable to continue scheduling vaccine appointments for persons aged 65 and above. Onslow County invites citizens to continue calling to put their name on the list of those awaiting appointments, but to please be patient because there will be a delay before people can be scheduled due to fewer vaccinations being received from the State.

“Onslow County is only assured of receiving 800 doses for the next five days. The currently scheduled first-dose appointments extend into the next two weeks, and additional appointments cannot be made until additional vaccination shipments are confirmed.

“Earlier, Onslow and other counties expressed concern to the State about the dwindling allocation of doses, and the uncertainty of future allocations to counties. A letter from NC Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, indicated only about 90,000 doses will be allocated to counties across the state in the near future. Onslow County is pleased that Dr. Cohen has pledged to give an assurance of delivery for the next three weeks, but the quantity of that future allocation is not known. Onslow County is encouraged that the Federal Government has indicated it intends to increase the doses to the state, but there is no certainty when that will occur.

“The County asks for patience in getting through to the Citizens Phone Bank as the Bank handles about 1100 calls a day. This quantity is slowing some phone traffic into other County offices, as well. Onslow County is ready and eager to provide this service to our Citizens. The County has developed efficient clinics and is prepared to administer up to a total of 1,000 doses a day. However, the County is at the mercy of the State for the allocation to Onslow County.”

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