The Wilkes County Health Department is getting 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week and will resume vaccination clinics then, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard.

“We aren’t sure when we’re getting the vaccine (next week), so there is no clinic schedule yet,” said Willard in an interview late Friday afternoon.

Next week, the health department’s drive-through vaccination clinics will be on Industrial Drive (old airport runway) at Lowe’s Park at River’s Edge.

The clinics were held at the health department’s rear parking lot on College Street near downtown Wilkesboro last week and this week, drawing long lines of cars and leaving many people frustrated when vaccine supplies ran out before they could get vaccinated.

Willard said it’s equally frustrating for health department personnel because they’re working hard to serve the public. She said lacking far less than enough vaccine to meet demand and not knowing the amount coming in farther in advance each week created a difficult situation.

Willard said the vaccine received by the health department next week will again be administered on a first-come, first-served basis to people as they remain in vehicles. They'll remain in vehicles during screening for eligibility for vaccinations, and again will be given a card with a number when eligible.

When the number of cards given out equals the amount of vaccine available that day, no more cards will be given, said Willard.

She said the drive-through clinic will be accessed from N.C. 268 West to YMCA Boulevard and then Industrial Drive. After being vaccinated, people will again be directed to a location with Wilkes Emergency Medical Services personnel to wait 15 minutes before leaving in case of severe reaction.

In next week’s drive-through clinics, the vaccine will again be available to people in Group 1, Phase 1A and 1B, of the state’s vaccination plan.

More details are on the health department website at https://wilkescounty.net/199/Health-Department.

Phase 1B includes all people 75 and older “regardless of health status or living situation.” Phase 1A includes health care staff working directly with COVID-19 patients, those cleaning and maintaining areas with COVID-19 patients, those administering the vaccines, staff and residents of long-term care facilities and certain others.

In many other counties, COVID-19 vaccinations are by appointment only.

Willard said about 900 people have been vaccinated at the Wilkes Health Department clinics so far, including 80 on Monday with vaccine left over from the prior week and 200 Tuesday with that many doses received that day.

Wilkes Medical Center is getting 300 doses of Moderna vaccine next week, but Willard doesn't know who is getting these shots.

“The federal government tells the state how much North Carolina will get and from there NCDHHS (N.C. Division of Health and Human Services) how much goes to each enrolled provider.”

She said factors determining allocations of the Moderna vaccine to each county include population, number of hospital beds and most doses given in a single day compared to on-hand inventory.

Willard noted that the Surry County Health Department is getting 100 and the Yadkin Health Department is getting 300 does of Moderna vaccine next week.

Wilkes Medical Center, part of the Wake Forest Baptist Health system, began offering the Pfizer vaccine to hospital employees in Phase 1A on Dec. 21.

More than 600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been given to Wilkes Medical Center employees by 6 p.m. Thursday, said Wake Forest Baptist media spokesman Joe McCloskey.

Wake Forest Baptist Health began offering the Pfizer vaccine to a small group of patients 75 and older at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem on Jan. 7. Accompanying this announcement was a reminder about the limited supply of the vaccine.

“We need everyone to remember that vaccine doses continue to be limited and it will likely take many weeks for enough doses to become available for every patient who wishes to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Richard Lord, chairman of family and community medicine and vice president of primary care and population health at Wake Forest Baptist.

“As we begin the process of slowly ramping up vaccination opportunities for our patients who are 75 or older in the coming days and weeks, we encourage them stay up to date on the WakeHealth.edu website, but also to contact their local county health department as they may have vaccine appointments available earlier, depending on their allocation from the state,” said Lord.

The announcement said these patients can learn more about access to vaccination opportunities through their myWakeHealth accounts and on Wake Forest Baptist’s COVID-19 Vaccine website at www.wakehealth.edu/Coronavirus/Vaccine.

Wake Forest Baptist was the first health system in North Carolina to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14 and began vaccinating its employees the next day. The health system is continuing to offer vaccinations to employees in Phase 1a or patients 75 or older.

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