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Health officials ask for patience as Novant, Brunswick work to ramp up vaccine effort

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 4:37 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County will host one of Novant Health’s larger-scale vaccine efforts—but health and hospital officials are reminding the public to be patient, as the supply of vaccines remains extremely limited.

Novant Health’s Brunswick Medical Center partnered with Brunswick County and Dosher Memorial Hospital to pool vaccine resources already, and being put on the list of six higher-volume sites within Novant’s network should mean a greater supply of vaccines in the weeks to come, but they are still at the mercy of the supply chain.

Executive Vice President and President of the Novant Health Physician Network Dr. Pam Oliver said the hospital system recognizes that those eligible for the vaccine are anxious to get their first dose.

“We understand, and we appreciate their patience with this. And this is...this is not easy for any of us. And we truly are working as hard as we could, and we are just purely limited by the supply,” she said in the system’s Friday vaccine update.

The system is setting up to be able to distribute up to 95,000 doses a week, but that depends on the doses being allocated by the state.

And the increased vaccine effort is happening at the same time the hospital is dealing with a surge of COVID-19 patients.

“Our health care system like all others, is being stretched,” Oliver said, “but we have activated any and every resource at our disposal, even within our system and externally with our partners to be able to deliver on this and are partnering with the state to make sure that we can truly operationalize this because the goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. And to make the process as seamless as possible for our patients.”

Those in Brunswick County looking to sign up for the vaccine have been asked to sign up for a Novant MyChart account.

WECT has received numerous calls and emails from the public expressing concerns, because while they had signed up for a MyChart account, they had not been prompted to try to schedule a vaccine appointment, and rumors on social media suggested existing patients were getting ahead in line.

Novant spokesperson Ashton Miller said that is not true.

“Our main priority is to provide the vaccine as quickly as possible to those who are eligible and want the vaccine,” he said. “Community members are not prioritized based on whether or not they have established care with Novant Health.”

Miller explained that signing up for MyChart does not mean someone will immediately be prompted to find a vaccine appointment, but they will be notified within the system and by email when more appointments are available.

Roughly a third of Brunswick County’s population is 65 or older and eligible for the vaccine, about 45,000 people, and appointments are almost entirely booked through Jan. 22.

Oliver said the public should trust the process, and their time will come.

“When appointments are available, and you meet the criteria, you will be able to access it,” she said.

MyChart tips from Novant Health

For those who don’t have a computer or internet access to sign up:

  • First, consider asking family or friends to help you sign up for MyChart online. If you still need assistance, contact the Public Health Call Line ((910) 253-2339, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) You will be asked to provide your name, phone number, birth date, and an email (if available). You will receive a phone call in the future from Novant Health to help you create a MyChart account over the phone. This call might come from a private or unknown number.

For those who have a MyChart account but it won’t let them sign up for an appointment:

  • Signing up for a MyChart account does not mean you will immediately receive a notice to schedule an appointment. You will be contacted through your MyChart account and your registered email address when you can schedule an appointment based on vaccine availability. We ask you to remain patient and trust in the process as we work with our partners to schedule appointments as vaccines become available.

For those who received a notification to sign up for an appointment, but none was left in Brunswick County:

  • If you received a notification to schedule an appointment and there are no appointments available at the Brunswick County location, check your account again daily. More appointments will be added as more vaccines are sent to Brunswick County every week from the state.

MyChart is asking me if I filled out my CVMS questionnaire. How do I fill it out?

  • You will fill out the questionnaire when you arrive for your scheduled appointment. If you are still receiving this message in MyChart, select ‘Yes’ to allow you to proceed with scheduling an appointment.

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