New Hanover County reports ‘busy but successful day’ of vaccine Phase 1b as those 75+ line up for shots

Phase 1b vaccinations underway in NHC

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - It took just 50 minutes for the entire first group of 1b individuals to get their coronavirus vaccines at the New Hanover County Health and Human Services building Thursday.

There were lines at that location as well as the Senior Resource Center, but county officials said the day went well overall.

“We have had a busy but successful day so far,” county spokesperson Jessica Loeper said mid-afternoon.

The lines, she said, were being attributed to individuals showing up too early for their vaccine appointments, causing them to have to wait. Both the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the National Guard were on hand to help direct traffic, and county staff worked the lines to check people in.

The county has set up tents outside the HHS building, as rain is expected Friday.

Loeper said they are encouraging people not to show up early for their vaccine appointments to avoid having to wait.

“We are getting through all of the appointments reserved in each time slot and everyone will be vaccinated who called ahead—so arriving early isn’t needed,” she said. “Those time slots are for an hour, so as long as someone shows up in that hour they can be seen.”

The county remains booked solid through Tuesday, Jan. 12, but they plan to open up more appointment slots when they know how many doses of the vaccine they will receive from the state.

WECT was able to talk to some of those who received their vaccines, such as Rick and Chris Patterson.

The Pattersons said they waited about an hour, but it was worth it to them to have their first dose.

“We’re just happy to be able to get it, and I certainly recommend everybody gets it to protect the whole population,” Rick Patterson said.

“We didn’t have to sit in a car all night waiting, so we’re very relieved to have it and to have our appointments in hand for three weeks from now,” Chris agreed, referencing the issues other states have seen with people sleeping in their automobiles to keep their place in line.

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