Older adults flooded Mecklenburg County’s phone system in hopes of securing a spot in line for the first round of COVID-19 vaccine.
On the first day adults 75 and older could register for the vaccination, Mecklenburg County scheduled 5,186 people on Jan. 5 for appointments through the end of January, according to Public Health Director Gibbie Harris.
“We’ve stopped taking additional appointments at this point because we’re continuing to work with the state to make sure we’ve got sufficient vaccine to vaccinate those we have appointments for,” Harris told county commissioners Jan. 5.
Limited availability is the reason for the phased approach. The county has received 2,925 doses of vaccine, as of Jan. 4. Staff administered over 2,000 doses through Jan. 5.
Health care workers were among the first to get vaccinated. The county has not yet finished vaccinated them as some are returning from the holidays and making appointments.
Jan. 5 was the first time that appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations were opened to the public.
“We did have some glitches,” Harris said. “Unfortunately, what we did this morning was open up the floodgates to the many 75-year-olds and pluses we have in our community . There was a bit of a frenzy in the beginning and we’re continuing to work through some of the issues, especially with the phone system.”
The county was scheduled to administer the vaccine Jan. 6 at Bojangles Coliseum, though some members of the general public received shots yesterday due to cancellations.
Atrium Health began administering the vaccine to the general public on Jan. 6.
The health care system has reached out to 160,000 patients across the state this week with details on scheduling their vaccinations. Hundreds have scheduled appointments through their MyAtriumHealth account.
“Making this vaccine available to the many diverse communities that Atrium Health serves is a crucial step closer to defeating this virus,” said Dr. Gary Little, chief medical officer at Atrium Health. “We’re working to ensure the distribution of the vaccine is inclusive and with as few barriers as possible. Scheduling and receiving the vaccine when it’s available is the best way we can all take part in ending this pandemic, while saving many lives in the process.”
Atrium Health said the vaccine creates an antibody response in the body without having to become sick with the virus.
Mecklenburg County reported 66,907 cases, including 601 deaths, since March, Harris said.
Click here to go to the county’s COVID-19 vaccine page.