Some NC counties see decline in demand as vaccine supply ramps up


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As the COVID-19 vaccine supply finally picks up, some counties in North Carolina are reporting a decline in demand. According to the latest data from the state, 30 percent of all adults are fully vaccinated, but that’s not the case in many, smaller, more rural counties.

The goal is herd immunity, which is when about 75 percent of people are vaccinated and COVID-19 can no longer easily spread. A look at the numbers shows there a long way to go.

“We are starting to get, it’s more a little more difficult to get people to fill the appointments,” said Todd McGee with Orange County.

McGee said the county still has a waitlist, but they have to send out many more invites to fill their spots than they used to.

“We may go to a model where we just have a walk-in clinic one or two days a week along with a clinic that is appointment only,” McGee said.

State data shows 31 percent of the people in Orange County are vaccinated. In Franklin County, it’s only 17 percent and in Wayne County it’s about 15 percent.

“With each new group that’s opened, our demand has quickly dissipated,” said Scott LaVigne, the Franklin County Health Director.

In the past, LaVigne explained they were able to move to the next group. Now that North Carolina is in Group 5, where everyone 16 and older can get a shot, that’s no longer an option.

“This week, we’re struggling. We’re going to meet our first dose allocation this week. It’s still not meeting the population that I know exists out there in the universe in Franklin County,” he said.

Wayne County finds itself in a similar situation. Brena Weis is the health director there.

“We’re probably going to have to hit the road a little bit more. We’ve been centrally located more or less in one location,” Weis said.

Weis said that would likely start in May. She said the group she’s most concerned about is those 18 to 24 years old.

CBS 17 reached out to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. It said in a statement: “As we see supply increasing and, in an effort, to bring vaccines closer to people, we are starting to send vaccines to new providers. This will allow us to increase the places people can go to get a vaccine making it more convenient.”

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