50,000 people on Duke vaccine waitlist as supply remains limited

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Hospital systems were some of the first to start administering COVID-19 vaccines. The pressure on health care workers in the pandemic is unwavering.

“We went from learning how to care for these patients, to ramping up testing dramatically, ramping up vaccinations, and it’s really all the same group of people,” said Steve Burriss, COO at UNC Health Triangle Region.

Leaders from WakeMed, Duke Health, and UNC Health agreed during a round table hosted by Deborah Ross (NC-02), hospitalizations are getting better but the work isn’t slowing down.

“They are tired. They are both drained and taxed, physically and emotionally,” said Leigh Bleecker, interim president at Duke Raleigh Hospital.

Altogether, the three systems have administered about 300,000 of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Meanwhile, Bleecker said Duke had 50,000 people still on their vaccine waitlist with that list expected to grow as teachers become eligible for vaccines.

“Next week, we increase the number of folks in the groups that we will be giving the vaccine to or that will be eligible for the vaccines,” said Bleecker.

High demand but limited supply remains the top challenge for area hospitals in the long term. In the short term, it’s getting any supply in at all after severe weather across the south slows deliveries.

“It’s really hard for us to ramp up to do thousands of vaccines in a week and then ramp down to do just a few thousand,” Burriss said as he expressed gratitude for a mostly-stabilized vaccine supply coming from the state.

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