Wake Public Health prepares to rollout COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone 75 and older

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Last week, Chopper 11 showed us a mile-long traffic backup in Nash County, with people 75 and older waiting in cars for vaccinations to protect them from COVID-19. Our cameras also rolled in Wayne County as hundreds of people, some who stood in line before sunup, got appointments for vaccinations while others, disappointed, got turned away because of daily limits of available doses.

On that day, 80-year-old James Morgan told us. "I didn't expect to come out here and just walk right in and get it. But I didn't expect to come out here and stand in 40-degree temperature for an hour, and then be told that the line is cut off here."


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That's why Wake County Public Health's plans for Phase 1B vaccines on January 19 got adjusted to avoid potential problems.

Wake County Chief Operating Officer Johnna Sharpe said, "We are gonna be doing the shots inside. We are looking at also, as we have more quantities of vaccine, that we would be able to do drive-through. Much like we've done with our drive through testing. We're hoping we can manage the demand by having people sign up for appointments. If we know that they want a shot, we will know our supply. We're having them sign up by either going online or our call center."


That number will be announced in the week ahead, Sharpe said. They'll be available from Wake Public Health, three local hospitals and UNC Wakebrook. All five locations have almost 25,000 doses so far.
Sharpe said those who get their Phase 1B vaccinations must wait afterward for observation by on-site medical personnel. "That's always the best advice, make sure there are no immediate side effects. So we will be asking people to stay up to 30 minutes after they've had their shot."

They should also make their appointments for a second shot on the day they get their first, she said, because that vaccine requires two doses for full protection from COVID-19. She also said there'll be no walk-up appointments available, so people won't have to stand in line outside at a time when cold temperatures could pose a health risk.
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