NC counties facing different problems with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Every time someone gets a shot in North Carolina, their information is uploaded to the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System.

State health officials say it’s a secure, cloud-based system. It allows everyone from community members to providers to the federal government to share data.

“There’s a slight learning curve, it is a relatively simple system, but there is a process,” said Lisa Macon Harrison, health director for Granville Vance Public Health.

Health officials from at least eight counties told CBS 17 they’ve had difficulty using the $7.1 million system.

Data entered allows the state to see what areas need more vaccines. Both Orange and Halifax counties said they’ve received fewer doses because of it.

“We did 1,000 vaccines, but we weren’t able to enter that many and I only got 100 doses for this week,” said Bruce Robistow, Halifax County Health Director.

The state said it’s improving the new system, and supporting anyone in need.

However, it’s not the only issue counties are facing when it comes to receiving vaccine doses.

Several counties said they wish they knew sooner how many doses they’ll get each week to help with scheduling and planning. Some said they need more vaccine and more staffing.

“We’ve never done a vaccination at this scale in the entire history,” said Dr. Robert Handfield, professor at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Handfield has been working with those involved in the vaccine rollout. He said everyone’s navigating the logistical challenges, but some face more hurdles than others, like rural communities.

Hurdles appear while transporting the vaccine, storing it and administering it.

“They really are like liquid gold and we have to treat them as such,” said Dr. Handfield.

He said he’s encouraged by federal initiatives underway to help with distribution and hopes he’ll see it firsthand.

“I can’t wait to get mine, I’m just anxious, I’ll be the first in line to get it as soon as my turn comes,” said Handfield.

County officials pointed out the data and numbers are constantly changing. One day a county can appear to be behind, and the next they can vaccinate 500 to 1,000 people, enter the data and move up.

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