Durham vaccine appointment line still closed, but waitlist allows some to get in last-minute

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Even though the Durham County Department of Public Health’s COVID vaccine appointment line is still closed, you could still get in last minute for an appointment if you join their new waitlist, health officials told CBS 17 on Thursday.

Some people in Durham County who are eagerly waiting for their vaccine argue that the Durham County Department of Public Health is not keeping the community informed enough about the vaccination plan and if people are currently getting in to get appointments.

On Wednesday night, the Durham County Department of Public Health posted an update on Twitter and Facebook about how they have worked through their old waitlist and now they have started a new waitlist for Groups 1 through 3.

The health department’s appointment line has been closed since Jan. 28 due to a shortage of vaccine supply. The social media post on Thursday did not clearly say when or if they plan to start taking new appointments.

CBS 17 spoke with several people on Thursday who said that it is frustrating that it has been a month and there is no word on when the appointment line will open back up again.

“I just don’t feel like the public, in general, is being informed enough,” said Jessica Griffey, an essential worker who is eagerly waiting for an appointment. “Personally I think it’s kind of ridiculous how its been handled.”

CBS 17 worked to get answers from Durham county health officials throughout the day on Thursday.
In addition to calling the Durham County Department of Public Health, CBS 17 also called all of the Durham County Board of Health members to who we could find a phone number.

CBS 17 spoke with two of those board members who didn’t have any new information to provide.

Shortly after we called the board members, Alecia Smith, spokesperson for the Durham County Department of Public Health, emailed CBS 17 and told us not to contact board members for media inquiries.

In that email, Smith didn’t provide any answers regarding vaccine appointments.

Just before the deadline, Smith contacted us again with answers to our questions.

She said that the health department’s appointment line is still closed. However, if you get on the waitlist, they may call you if there are cancellations, no-shows, or unexpected last-minute doses.
Darby Schenkel is a teacher in Durham and she decided not to wait on the Durham County Department of Public Health.

On Thursday, she drove to Walgreens in Roxboro and got her first dose of the COVID vaccine.

She said she has to go back to the classroom next month and she wanted to try to get vaccinated before going back.

“This is the city of medicine, I’m very concerned about why our county doesn’t have the vaccines all the other counties do,” Schenkel said. “Where are these vaccines, how are they caught off guard?”

The Durham County Department of Public Health started vaccinating teachers on Wednesday.

More than 200 school personnel were vaccinated at the health department on Wednesday and county officials said the plan is to vaccinate 1,000 school personnel per week.

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