Cumberland County sees vaccination wait times below 20 minutes as educators get the shot

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County says about half of the COVID-19 vaccine appointments made Wednesday were from teachers and child care staff.

Wednesday was the first day the county began vaccinating the first part of Group 3 at the Crown Complex.

Cumberland County Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Green says they’ve made several changes recently that has helped bring down wait times to less than 20 minutes.

Starting this week you can now schedule your own appointment online, rather than filling out a form and then having a staff member contact you to schedule.

Once on site, eligibility is checked and registration is completed.

The county also started a radio station on 94.5 FM.

People waiting in line at the clinic can tune in to get updates and instructions.

Fayetteville teacher Linda McKoy says the process was smooth and efficient for her.

“I’m excited to have time to come get it today,” McKoy said. “I want to be safe and I want my family to be safe, and I work in an environment where there’s lots and lots of people in and out.”

Green says it takes 75 to 100 people to operate the clinics on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

She estimates up to 30 percent of those people are volunteers or community partners.

“We have broken up each step in the process to a person that’s trained in a specific role, and then cross-trained in other roles so we can move you through as quickly as we possibly can,” Green said.

They are vaccinating about 1,400 people at each clinic, which now includes childcare workers like Tracey Smith.

“I am ecstatic about getting my shot,” Smith said. “I went online yesterday morning, put in my information, and I got my appointment today,” Smith said.

The county started separating first and second dose appointments by days of the week.

Tuesdays are for second doses, and Wednesdays and Fridays are mainly for first dose appointments.

“That has really helped us smooth out the operation; given us the ability to plan a little bit better for what’s coming through the parking lot,” Green said.

The county also moved to appointments only, except for Friday afternoons when the stand-by lane opens up.

If spots happen to open up throughout the day, the county sends out an alert to notify people that there is no wait and no appointment needed.

Green credits the success they’ve seen with the clinics to teamwork, adapting as needed, and learning best practices from others throughout the state.

“I think for us and for other counties that’s what I encourage you to do, learn from our partners to see what works and didn’t work and then implement those practices.”

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