COVID-19 vaccines given at NC pharmacies through federal program not in state patient database


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There are more questions about the way the state keeps track of the COVID-19 vaccination shots from CBS 17 viewers after last week’s story which reported that some vaccines administered under the federal pharmacy vaccination program did not show up in a publicly accessible database.

On Friday, CBS 17 told you about Richard Olive who received two vaccinations at different locations–the first at a Johnston County clinic and a second dose at a Walgreen’s pharmacy.

When he went to the state’s patient portal he found only his Johnston County vaccination was listed.

It turns out a vaccine administered at a North Carolina pharmacy that is part of the federal pharmacy program will not show up in the state’s patient portal.

“I do have a copy of my card on my phone, but someone may not accept that,” he said.

Here’s what’s going on: There are two separate databases.

Vaccination records are kept in the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Management System because it is secure and HIPAA Compliant. Many vaccination records are then shared with a publicly accessible database called the patient portal.

However, federal pharmacy program vaccination records placed in that secure vaccination management system are not shared with the public on the patient portal.

When we reported that it resulted in an email from a viewer who wanted to know how the state plans to “rectify this large gap in computer records?”

CBS 17 investigative reported Steve Sbraccia asked North Carolina health officials about that.

North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services spokeswoman Bailey Pennington said, “The state is now working toward storing these records so that recipients may be able to access them through the patient portal in the future.”

In other words, computer IT folks are trying to get the two databases can talk to each other.

Another viewer wanted to know if not having records in the patient portal “Would have affected the lottery drawing for those who were vaccinated?”

Pennington says the records for the vaccine lotteries came directly from the state’s COVID-19 vaccination management database and did include the pharmacy recipients from the federal program as well as everyone else who got a shot.

North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services says the state COVID-19 Vaccine Management database was created so providers would be able to make sure people receive the right dose at the right time.

Although the state is working on a way to convert the data from the federal pharmacy shots program into a format that would make those records accessible to recipients through the patient portal, there is no timetable on when that will happen.

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