First doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 will be available by appointment in a Wilkes Health Department drive-through clinic Thursday starting at 10 a.m. at Lowe's Park at River’s Edge, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard.

Willard said eligibility for Thursday's clinic was expanded to people 65 and older. Last week, it was 75 and older. She said 300 doses of Moderna vaccine were received Tuesday for Thursday's clinic.

Except for vaccinations by appointment in evening clinics, Wilkes Health Department Moderna vaccination clinics have been conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. These were in a health department parking lot until a drive-through clinic was held Jan. 14 at Lowe’s Park at River’s Edge. Over 700 doses were given that day.

Willard said Thursday’s clinic with vaccinations by appointment will be a trial run “to see how things go and what we need to fix.”

She added that with second doses of the Moderna vaccine being given for the first time in Wilkes this week, “we just want to ensure we are keeping those (first and second doses) separate.” The health department received additional Moderna vaccine Tuesday for 400 second doses.

Second doses were available by appointment Tuesday and they’ll be given again from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. There is a limit of 50 per day. This week’s second doses are only for people who received first doses on Dec. 22 and 23.

The number listed on the health department website to call to make appointments for both first and second doses is 336-990-9950. Willard said three to five people will be answering the phone this week.

Willard said the health department is also continuing evening clinics for first doses of the Moderna vaccine by appointment. One of these clinics was Tuesday and two others are Wednesday and Thursday. Hours are 5-6:30 p.m.

In most North Carolina counties, public COVID-19 vaccination clinics have been conducted by appointment.

More details about the health department’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics are at https://www.wilkescounty.net/617/Vaccine-Clinic.

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