Cape Fear Valley Health sees slow down in demand for COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — There are more than 2,000 spaces available for first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Cape Fear Valley Health, which health officials say is not good news.

Cape Fear Valley Health said every Friday at 5 p.m., the health system opens for the next week through their website. In the last couple of months, those appointments have filled up fast, usually over the weekend or early in the week.

But this week, Cape Fear Valley Health said only about 15 percent of the appointments were filled by Monday morning.

“I think what we’re worried about is the vaccine supply is outpacing demand,” said Vice President of Professional Services at Cape Fear Valley Health Chris Tart, PharmD. “We need to encourage everyone to roll their sleeves up and be vaccinated so we can continue to put this pandemic behind us. We’re not where we need to be yet, but the demand has definitely slowed down. Now that the weather has warmed up, people are out and about, which puts them at more risk. I think the biggest fear is that demand is not there. People feel like we’re through the crisis, but we’re not.”

Tart said it could be due to demand shifting to the more convenient one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but Cape Fear Valley Health is currently only offering that vaccine at some walk-in clinics that do not require an appointment.

There are also more places where people can get the vaccine, such as retail locations and grocery stores that offer the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The Johnson and Johnson supply is sporadic, so we can’t plan it week to week like we can with Moderna and Pfizer,” Tart said. “We do hope that people step up to take whatever vaccine they’re most comfortable with, but relying on the availability at walk-in clinics cannot be the answer for everyone who still needs a vaccine at this point.”

Cape Fear Valley Health is holding two walk-in clinics for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Cape Fear Valley Rehabilitation Center Auditorium on Wednesday and Friday. The walk-in clinics will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. while supplies lasts.

Health officials said there are a total of 2,400 doses available with 1,200 available each day.

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