Some N.C. health systems get zero doses this week as state prioritizes mass vaccination sites
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - About 15,7000 people received vaccinations this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a mass vaccination event.
It was possible because of the partnership between Atrium Health, Tepper Sports and Entertainment, the Speedway and Honeywell.
Appointments are available for the next mass vaccination site at Bank of America Stadium beginning Friday, January 29.
According to Atrium Health, they will administer roughly 20,000 shots.
While tens of thousands are being vaccinated, other parts of the state are not getting doses.
Cone Health in Greensboro had to cancel more than 10,000 appointments after receiving zero first doses the week of January 25.
Lincoln County reported it is also suspending appointments.
Gaston and Alexander counties also told WBTV they received zero first doses this week.
In a statement, a spokesperson for NCDHHS said:
“Our local partners have been working tirelessly to ramp up and vaccinate people as quickly as possible under difficult circumstances. This week, in response to indications that the federal government might base future allocations on the supply states have on hand, our state and providers worked to rapidly administer vaccinations and exhaust North Carolina’s current supply.
- First, we worked to facilitate large-scale vaccination events, including two huge events at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Panthers Stadium
- Second, we worked with many providers to stand up special events and push to use up every first-dose vaccine they have.
- Third, we asked local providers to aggressively schedule appointments.
Our partners stepped up. Hospitals, local health departments and other vaccine providers have been working as one team – Team Vaccine – on this shared goal. For the coming vaccine week beginning 1/27 we only have a 120,000 dose allocation to administer. A large portion of those doses are committed to the large-scale events planned to address the backlog. As a result, many providers are getting small allocations or zero allocations for the week of 1/27. We know this is causing pain among providers who did an incredible job working to vaccinate residents quickly.
As long as we are getting such a small amount of vaccine as a state, there are going to be challenges and shortages as we try to ensure equitable access to vaccine, while getting shots into arms quickly. We understand this is hard for providers who are doing everything right.
We will make every effort to bring additional supplies into the state and appreciate the effort of providers to exhaust each week’s shipment quickly until supplies increase.”
“Sadly what happens is you create counties that are winners, and then some that are losers and I know that’s not what we’re trying to do together,” Stephen Lawler, President and CEO of the North Carolina Healthcare Association, told WBTV.
Lawler penned a letter to Governor Cooper asking for a more equitable deployment of vaccines across the state.
“We have recommended to the governor that when there is an opportunity for these large scale events, that the state go to the federal government and ask for a special allocation to support that,” Lawler said.
The Gaston County Health Department has 600 people scheduled for first dose shots this Friday.
But spokesperson Adam Gaub says they got zero new doses this week and will exhaust their current supply by Tuesday.
“The residents of Gaston County are no less deserving of the vaccine than those in the places where the state is sending the vaccine,” Gaub said.
Novant Health told WBTV they are allocated 5,075 doses this week, which brings them not even close to being able to pull off administering the 20,000 shots Atrium is planning to give this weekend.
Atrium Health was allocated 35,225 first doses this week.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Novant Health said:
“We did speak with Governor Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. Several health systems expressed their concerns over the lack of a transparent, predictable and equitable distribution of vaccine. Governor Cooper acknowledged the problem, but no solutions were offered nor was there a commitment that a solution would be forthcoming. We want to be clear, Novant Health supports all healthcare systems and their mass vaccination strategies. We simply want to provide our patients access to these vaccines, which equal hope for the communities we serve. For many, it is their last hope. The hope to see their grandchildren again, go to church, or escape the loneliness and isolation that goes hand-in-hand with this pandemic. Our state deserves a distribution process that is number 1 not number 38 - and the health systems can make that happen if we are given the opportunity.”
“Our allotment was a mere 2.2 percent of the state’s supply when other health systems receive upwards of 10 to 20 percent of the state’s supply,” said Dr. Jerome Englebert Williams Jr., with Novant Health, said last week, referring to the allotment for the week of January 11.
Gaub hopes the state will change the way they allocate.
“We’re just asking that it is something that could be spread as evenly and fairly as possible,” he said.
Gaub says they are hoping to get transfers from other health systems in Gaston County so that they will not have to cancel the 600 appointments scheduled for this Friday.
He said the Gaston County health director also made an appeal to the state for more vaccine and expect to hear back from them by tomorrow.
Appointments are still available for the event at Bank of America Stadium through https://my.atriumhealth.org/.
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