Triangle-area health department officials react to move to vaccinate rest of frontline workers

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The state is moving forward with COVID-19 vaccines for the remainder of Group 3, which are frontline essential workers, starting Wednesday.

Those in Group 4 can start making appointments to schedule their shot on March 24, which is ahead of schedule.

“It’s encouraging,” said Ryan Jury, the mass vaccine branch director for Wake County Public Health.

Jury said he supports Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision to start vaccinating the rest of Group 3.

“We began to kind of identify a slowing this weekend and early yesterday and so we kind of expressed our concerns to the state,” Jury said.

Halifax County noticed a similar trend.

“We did have a large number of no-shows. Our first day of vaccinating last week we had over 160 no-shows,” said Bruce Robistow, the Halifax County health director.

At a larger scale event, he said there were 200 people who didn’t show up in the first two hours alone. Officials moved on to names on their waitlist and no doses were wasted.

After meeting with his team, Robistow said they decided to open vaccines up to everyone in Group 3 Monday.

“Having that flexibility in our own county helps us to get more vaccine in arms,” he explained.

The state only moved into Group 3 back on Feb 24. Teachers, school personnel and child care workers were put at the front of the line.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said they estimate there are 1.2 million people that qualify as Group 3, which are frontline essential workers.

In Group 4, there are 4.2 million people, which includes those with at least one high-risk medical condition, people living in close group settings, and other essential workers.

“We’ll start registering people. We do not have the vaccine supply yet to move to Group 3,” said Todd McGee with Orange County.

McGee said their waitlist has 10,000 people on it. They’re still focused on Groups 1 and 2 but hope to fit a few people in from Group 3 this week.

CBS 17 also reached out to Walgreens to see how it might impact their vaccinations. A spokesperson sent us the following statement:

The COVID-19 vaccine effort continues to rapidly evolve with fluxing vaccine inventories, varying eligibility guidelines, and continued demand that outweighs inventory. Customers may experience a slight delay in making appointments as we work to update changing eligibilities as quickly as possible. We share the excitement of the nation as we work together with federal and state agencies to vaccinate our most vulnerable populations as quickly as possible.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories