FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Starting Wednesday, 16 members of the North Carolina National Guard are in Cumberland County to help with COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
The Cumberland County Health Department said the process at the Crown Expo Center is getting smoother. There was a point Wednesday morning when there was no wait.
The North Carolina National Guard members are helping people get registered as they wait in their vehicles to get the vaccine. They’re also helping with traffic flow and providing the vaccinations.
The hybrid model launched this week. It allows people to make an appointment and accepts walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are separate lanes at the Expo Center for people with and without appointments.
The people with appointments are already registered, so they don’t have to wait while others register on site.
Appointments can be made between 9 to 11 a.m., and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Spots from 1 to 4 p.m. are reserved for people without an appointment.
Wednesday morning, they made it through the appointments and accepted walk-ins before 10 a.m.
“That’s why I’m here. When I heard, ‘Hey, no waiting, it’s open,’” said Cheryl Lawrence. “About 20 minutes. Not bad at all.”
Gene Crews traveled from Wake County to get vaccinated.
“We called and they said come on down, so that’s what we did.”
Crews said he wasn’t having luck getting in with clinics closer to him. He said the wait for him to get near the front of the line in Cumberland County was less than 30 minutes.
He’s excited to get the vaccine.
“We are in that age group where it could be worse,” Crews said. “I think we are pretty healthy, but just not willing to take that chance to get out that much.”
The vaccine clinics continue Friday and Saturday at the Crown Expo Center. The health department said it vaccinates about 1,000 people during each clinic.
The clinics operate with volunteers from various groups including FTCC, FSU, Team Rubicon, Civic Air Patrol, EMS, and other first responders.
The health department is getting ready to launch a volunteer website to help recruit additional volunteers.