About 10,000 people had received first doses of the Moderna vaccine at Wilkes County Health Department clinics by the end of last week, said Wilkes Health Department Director Rachel Willard.

These included about 1,100 people vaccinated in a drive-through, first dose clinic at Lowe’s Park at River’s Edge in Wilkesboro on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Willard said the health department is supposed to get enough Moderna vaccine for 1,200 first doses at a drive-through clinic at River’s Edge Thursday. Enough vaccine is expected for 900 second doses at a drive-through clinic Friday at River’s Edge.

The health department now requires appointments for first or second dose vaccinations. To schedule an appointment, call 336-990-9950. Cards with the date and time of second dose appointments are given when people get their first doses.

Willard said she heard reports of people having much shorter waiting times when they called the health department for first dose appointments last week. Others working at the Feb. 11 clinic said they heard statements affirming this from people there to receive first doses.

As of last week, the health department has 10 people answering calls for appointments. Previously, three to five people were answering the phones. Additional people answering phones include employees of the county’s animal control, information technology and parks and recreation departments.

Willard said only about 430 people called for a first dose appointment on Monday, Feb. 1, unlike about a week ago when call volume averaged about 2,000 a day and people reported waiting hours for calls for appointments to be answered, if at all.

Willard said the reduced call volume indicates that a large percentage of Wilkes residents 65 and older seeking vaccinations have accomplished this. “As we move to vaccinating people in group three, this number (of people calling for appointments) will go up.”

Anyone working in child care or in the schools (Pre-K to 12th grade), including teachers, is eligible for vaccination starting Feb. 24, while others in group three can be vaccinated starting March 10.

She said whether the health department makes vaccinations available to everyone in group three on March 10 depends on the vaccine supply at that point and how far along the department is in getting people in earlier groups vaccinated.

Willard said about 80% of those vaccinated with first doses at the health department clinics have also received their second doses. This includes about 800 people given second doses in a drive-through clinic at River’s Edge on Friday, Feb. 12.

Wilkes Medical Center is holding additional vaccination clinics for patients of medical practices affiliated with the hospital.

The hospital is holding a second dose vaccination clinic this Saturday for the 403 hospital patients 65 and older who received first doses of the Pfizer vaccine in a Jan. 30 clinic at West Park, North Wilkesboro. These are by appointment only.

Patients of medical practices affiliated with Wilkes Medical Center may schedule vaccination appointments through the hospital by calling 336-70-COVID or through their myWakeHealth accounts.

“Wake Forest Baptist Health continues to partner with the Wilkes County Health Department and has transferred hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine” for use at health department clinics, said Wake Forest Baptist spokesman Joe McCloskey.

McCloskey said more than 1,200 first and second doses have been given at Wilkes Medical Center to Wake Forest Baptist Health employees, including those who work at the local hospital and at other Wake Forest Baptist locations.

McCloskey said around 30,000 first and second doses have been provided to Wake Forest Baptist employees and patients across the region.

The Walgreens pharmacy in North Wilkesboro is among about 300 Walgreens statewide offering the public vaccinations with the Moderna vaccine by appointment. The pharmacy here held a vaccination clinic this past weekend. Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at Walgreens are made by going to Walgreens.com/

Each Walgreens pharmacy was expected to receive an initial allotment of about 100 doses of vaccine shipped directly from the federal government for clinics starting this past weekend.

This was in addition to North Carolina’s current weekly federal allocation of about 150,000 doses. State officials have said this is distributed primarily based on county populations.

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