Brunswick County: COVID-19 vaccine supplies remain ‘exceptionally low’

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COVID-19 Vaccine (Photo: Pexels)

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced this Tuesday that additional frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for vaccinations beginning March 3, bringing North Carolina fully into Phase 3 of the state’s vaccination plan.

The state officials also announced that people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning March 24, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings.

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More details about Group 3 and Group 4 are on the NCDHHS website.

Brunswick County Health Services, Novant Health and Dosher Memorial Hospital will align their vaccination efforts with the state’s plan. However, the county says the partners will continue to prioritize community members who fall under Group 1, Group 2, and workers from child care and school settings for appointments at their joint mass vaccination clinic.

At this time, most appointments at the Brunswick County mass vaccination clinic are already scheduled out for several weeks. As the three partners continue to receive their allocations from the NCDHHS every week, they will assess whether the supplies are sufficient to cover that week’s appointments and if additional appointments could be added, focusing first on scheduling those who are aged 65 and older, health care workers, and child care and school workers followed by those in additional eligible groups.

“Vaccine supplies remain exceptionally low,” the country wrote in a release on Thursday.

Community members who are considered essential frontline workers under Group 3 and those in Group 4 are asked to remain patient as it may still take several weeks to find an available appointment spot at the mass vaccination clinic.

If appointment slots are not available when you search, you are encouraged to check again later. Future appointment dates are added on a weekly basis based on current allocation numbers the NCDHHS is sending to the three partners.

Additionally, as more vaccine supplies are sent to North Carolina, including doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, more COVID-19 vaccines may become available to expand opportunities for eligible individuals to receive a vaccine in Brunswick County and across the state.

If you are eligible and plan or choose to travel to another jurisdiction to receive a vaccine, be prepared to travel back to that jurisdiction if you need a second vaccine appointment. The supplies a provider is given for second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are directly tied to the number of first doses it was sent from the NCDHHS in previous weeks.

Brunswick County Health Services is also working with partners at local hospitals and health care clinics, community organizations, schools, child care centers, and area churches to coordinate outreach clinics for any doses of vaccine it receives from the NCDHHS for equity or event purposes. The department continues to work with these partners to identify areas that could benefit from such clinics and apply to the NCDHHS for vaccine allocations to support such events.

For these temporary clinics, Health Services works directly with its partners to identify eligible individuals, particularly those from underserved or historically marginalized communities in the county, to schedule appointments. Individuals identified as eligible for these clinics will receive direct communication from Health Services or from one of our partners to schedule these appointments.

As of March 2, around 30,000 Brunswick County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine and more than 16,000 have received their second dose. More than 83% of those first doses were administered to someone 65 years or older.

However, around one-third of Brunswick County’s population falls in the 65 and older category, which means there is still a ways to go to fully vaccinate those in Group 2 on top of any remaining health care, child care, and school workers still awaiting vaccinations.