Surge has doctor 'super concerned' as vaccinations continue

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Thursday, December 31, 2020
Triangle counties account for 25% of vaccines administered in NC
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Health officials anticipate vaccination compliance will increase with later phases of distribution.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As North Carolina experiences daunting COVID-19 metrics, vaccination dispersals continue across the state.

"I'm super concerned. We've got a surge from Thanksgiving that we're honestly just dealing with now," said Dr. Joanne Fruth with Avance Care in Raleigh, about the rising number of cases and hospitalizations.

Mass vaccinations will take months to implement. State health officials urge people to continue wearing masks, avoid gathering with people outside their homes, social distance, and frequently hand-wash.

According to NCDHHS, there have been 461,925 doses allocated to the state thus far, with about 130,000 of those for long-term care settings. There's roughly an equal number of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, with more than half the Moderna vaccine doses thus far allocated for long-term care settings. Those totals include vaccines dispersed to both private and public entities.

As of Monday night, approximately 63,000 North Carolinians had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The most vaccinations had taken place in Wake County, followed by Mecklenburg, Durham, Forsyth, and Orange counties.

Durham County's Public Health Department officials said they have received 3,200 doses and administered nearly 400 shots, adding vaccinations are occurring daily. Johnston County has received 1,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Wake County's Division of Public Health told ABC 11 that it has received 2,925 doses and has administered 677 of them; It received about 1,900 of those doses Wednesday.

"We've also invited 2,994 people to get vaccinated. So although we've given 677 doses, it doesn't mean we haven't invited groups in order to get vaccinated. We just haven't necessarily seen the turnout," said Ryan Jury, the Wake County COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical liaison.

The department is also holding weekly calls with hospitals to ensure that all vaccinations are used.

"Right after the holidays, we began discussing steps to vaccine share so that (for) an organization that finds itself with extra doses, how can we ensure that community groups who are or are not affiliated in whatever way with have access to vaccinations," Jury said.

The state is still in Phase 1A, which prioritizes health care providers who work with COVID-19 patients, and residents and staff at long-term care settings. Distribution will vary county-by-county based off their allotment during Phase 1A.

Phase 1B will be a layered approach, beginning with people 75 years and older, followed by healthcare workers and frontline essential workers 50 years or older, and then healthcare and frontline essential workers regardless of age. The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders, US Postal Service staff, manufacturers, grocery store employees, public transit workers, and those in the education and child care sector.

"We are getting a lot of those kinds of inquiries. People are calling to our offices very frequently about getting the vaccine," said Dr. Fruth.

In Phase 1B, those wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can schedule at a site providing vaccinations, and will soon be able sign up through the online COVID-19 Vaccine Management System. That system will also be used to ensure people get their second dose on time.

The state is not requiring an ID to be vaccinated although a health care provider or employer could request it. Regardless of insurance coverage, the vaccine is free for everyone.