Thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments on the books for UNC Health this week

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Thursday, January 14, 2021
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UNC Health hopes to administer 1,500 to 2,000 vaccinations daily at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill when they finally obtain enough supply.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Ron McKelvey is out of patience.

"I feel like I've been on house arrest since March basically," he said.

Ron is 74 and lives in Wake County with his 75-year-old wife, Sharon, who is eligible for a vaccine through Phase 1B. However, under the current guidelines, he is not.

"I have a sister that lives less than two miles away," Ron said. "I'm so afraid of this virus that I won't go out and visit my own sister."

He's been calling his primary care physician and can't get any answers and experts say while there is a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, that's the best thing to do.

In the meantime, UNC Health has thousands of appointments on the books this week to administer COVID-19 vaccines statewide.

"Everything we've received has been injected," said Dr. David Zvara, chair of the department of anesthesiology at UNC Health. He's helping coordinate UNC's vaccine distribution efforts. So far, 30,000 doses have been administered across 16 vaccination sites in 12 counties. One-in-five inoculations across the state have been given out by UNC Health."

"This is the ticket out of this public health care crisis as well as thoughtful administration of general public health principles," he said.

The Friday Center at UNC in Chapel Hill is the high-efficiency center the state has promised. They're doing hundreds of vaccinations per day now but targeting anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 a day.

Dr. Zvara said it's been a massive undertaking to do that. They realize it won't be the most convenient site for everyone-- thus the satellite locations near Wake Forest and Cary.

"All of us are anxious to receive the drug," he said. "The folks charged with this responsibility are honestly working as hard as they can to get it to the citizens and people of North Carolina."

Ron said he has all sorts of chronic health problems including emphysema, heart disease and diabetes.

He's hopeful that the state will adopt the new guidelines set out by the CDC this week; Phase 1C; which includes vaccinating people 65 and over.

Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is working on an updated prioritization list and should have new guidelines by the end of the week.