RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– North Carolina health officials are ramping up efforts to vaccinate as many people from COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
On Thursday, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced nearly two dozen large-scale community vaccination clinics, as well as mass vaccination sites at sporting arenas in the state.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said they are partnering with health systems, local health departments and community health centers “in 23 counties spanning the entire state from the mountains to coast.”
Cohen says more than 45,000 vaccines are expected to be given through these events.
Providers were selected based on their ability to administer a large number of vaccine doses and to provide access to marginalized communities.
“It’s a mix of ways in which staffing is going to be supported. Sometimes it’s the local health department. Sometimes it’s volunteers, sometimes it’s our National Guard,” said Cohen.
In Wake County, providers include UNC REX Healthcare, Duke Raleigh Hospital, and WakeMed.
Vaccines will be administered by appointment only at some locations.
Also announced Thursday, Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway will soon serve as mass COVID-19 vaccination sites.
“They plan to vaccinated as many people as quickly and as possible,” said Cohen.
Honeywell, Atrium Health, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and the Charlotte Motor Speedway have teamed up with the State of North Carolina to help administer 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations by July 4.
Coehn says the goal is to have similar mass sites across the state including in the Triangle.
She said conversations are “happening now” for more public private partnerships, however the state is allocated 120,000 new doses of vaccine each week so supplies is limited.
“It’s not something that can run 24/7,” said Cohen. “We just don’t have that amount of vaccine, so we are figuring out what is the appropriate scale? Where should those locations be? How can we think about equity?”
Along with the stadium and speedway, a soon to be determined location in the Winston-Salem area will also serve as a mass vaccination site.