Wake trailing behind neighboring counties when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations

Wake County's Board of Commissioners received an update on how the county is faring against COVID-19 during Monday afternoon's meeting.

According to the state's COVID-19 Tracking System, Wake is labeled as "Orange," the second-highest level, meaning substantial community spread. Comparatively, 61 counties are labeled "Red," the highest-level, meaning critical spread, and six are "Yellow," the lowest-level, meaning significant community spread.

After topping more than 1,000 new cases for four straight days in the first week of the new year, Wake County has surpassed 500 new daily cases just once in February, a marked improvement that coincides with dips in positivity rate and hospitalizations.

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However, the state has not fared as well when it comes to administering vaccines.

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"To date, all Wake County providers, include Wake Public Health, have received 104,000 doses of the vaccine, which averages out to about 10,000 doses per week, which is still less than 10% of the population of Wake County. So we still have a long road and a lot of arms to give shots to," said Wake County COO Johnna Sharpe.

According to NCDHHS data, Wake is trailing neighboring Durham County and nearby Orange County when it comes to vaccination rates; while about 10% of residents in Wake County have received the first dose, and 4% the second dose, 13% of residents in Durham County have received at least one dose, and 6% have completed the regimen, and 16% of Orange County residents have gotten at least one dose, more than 8% both shots.

Wake County leaders are hopeful that more incoming doses can address this issue.

"We have seen some positive signs of the increases in the supply. This coming week, we'll receive more than 20,000 doses for all the providers in the county, which is almost double what we received previously," said Wake County COO Johnna Sharpe.
A chunk of those will be used at large-scale events this upcoming week.

"We vaccinated a 1-day record in the county of 2,011 people on Saturday on a single-day, first and second doses. And this week, based on our dose volume, we will be going back to PNC again Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday," Sharpe said.

Over those three days, they plan to give about 4,000 shots.

As the state continues to work through the first two priority groups, they do plan to move forward with offering vaccinations for Priority Group 3, which is for frontline essential workers including teachers, once they are able to do so.

"At this time, we are planning to start moving into Group 3 while we are still completing Groups 1 and 2. We still have tens of thousands of people who are in those groups. That's why we're looking at figuring out how our different strategies are going to be. And the issue is still the supply. We will not know until this week what to anticipate for the next three weeks. The state has been giving us a commitment that they'll let us know what we can plan for three weeks at a time," said Sharpe.

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