Doctors warn slow vaccine rollout could mean another summer of COVID-19 restrictions


(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Doctors are warning the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine means we could be dealing with another summer of restrictions unless the vaccine availability is drastically increased.

Right now, doctors at Novant Health say they only have about 1,000 vaccines per week for patients. So far 1,400 patients have been vaccinated in Charlotte and Winston-Salem.

“We are very excited about the vaccines. It’s going to turn this thing around,” said Dr. David Priest.

So when will the vaccine slow the spread? The American Hospital Association estimates 1.8 million people need to be vaccinated per day from January through May.

“We are nowhere near that. We are about a million people off of that target. If that is true and we don’t up this vaccination process to move more quickly, we are going to be dragging this into the summer longer than we want to,” said Dr. Priest.

Dragging on the process also means more deaths.

Mecklenburg County continues to struggle to get the virus under control.

“Unfortunately our situation in Mecklenburg County is not improving. Our numbers continue to climb both in terms of positivity rate, our case rate, and the number of deaths we are seeing in our community,” said Mecklenburg County Public Health Director, Gibbie Harris.

“We understand the frustration people are feeling because we have those same frustrations as we wait for additional vaccine supply,” said Dr. Priest.

Novant is notified by the state every Thursday about how much vaccine supply they’ll receive per week. The short supply means only a few hundred appointments can be scheduled between Charlotte and Winston Salem.

Right now, Novant Health is still only vaccinating patients who are 75 years old or older.

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