Raleigh COVID-19 vaccine clinic ends early as demand drops across central NC for doses

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hayes Barton Pharmacy at Five Points in Raleigh has been holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics since February.

“The demand is not nearly as high right now as what it has been,” said owner Brent Talley.

The pharmacy held a clinic across the street at Hayes Barton Baptist Church on Saturday. Nurses planned to administer 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Talley said 65 people showed up to get a shot.

“We typically go through about 500-600 [doses] in a day, so that’s sort of the volume difference that we’re seeing,” he said of the drop in demand.

With lower turnout than normal, the pharmacy decided to close the clinic early.

“I originally had an appointment for later today and received an email stating that they had to sort of change it from 9-2 to 9-12 because they just didn’t have the demand,” said Lisa Msarsa, who got her first dose on Saturday.

State health officials have been warning that vaccine supply would begin to outweigh the demand. Talley said other pharmacies are also noticing a slowdown.

“We started reaching out to some of our colleagues to see if there was something more that we need to be doing, or a different approach, and everybody that we touched base with is like ‘no, we’re seeing sort of the same results,” he said.

According to the latest data from state health officials, 29.3 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Also, 37.7 percent of the population is partially vaccinated with at least one dose.

Ryan Bodenhamer says he planned on waiting to get the vaccine.

He explained, “But when I started thinking about it, what if something happens and then I have to be vaccinated and I’m not?”

He added, “I’m planning to go see a friend in Oregon within the next 6 to 9 months and I don’t want them to say, ‘you can’t get on a plane, you’re not vaccinated. That’s really my fear.”

Worried businesses might require the vaccine in the coming months, Bodenhamer stopped by Saturday’s clinic and got his first dose.

“I wasn’t against it, I just didn’t have any sense of urgency to get it,” he said. “I guess that’s why demand could be slowing down, people like me are like, ‘yeah I’ll get it when I get it.”

On Friday, the CDC and FDA lifted the 11-day pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pause came after reports of rare but severe blood clots in at least six people who received the J&J vaccine.

Now that providers can begin administering it again, Talley says he thinks that may help with demand.

“We’re gonna start using it right away,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of doses right now that will last us at least several large clinics worth of doses.”

He added, “I think it will help a little bit, but I think it’s gonna take a good bit of education for people to want to make that decision about how they want to go about it and which one they want to get.”

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