Bladen County Hospital feels strain of smaller COVID-19 vaccine shipments
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Hospitals and health departments are feeling the pinch this week when it comes to how much vaccine they’re getting in from the state.
Other cities have had to cancel appointments because they received fewer doses than anticipated, and Monday, Cape Fear Valley Health staff announced they’ve had to change how they do business to make sure they can still honor their appointments.
Over the last few weeks, if you were a healthcare worker, or over 65 years old, you could get your vaccine just by walking up to Bladen County Hospital. Now, due to the limited doses of vaccine, administrators had to stop accepting walk-ins and take fewer appointments.
The smaller vaccine shipment this week is an issue providers are seeing statewide.
North Carolina has an allotment of 120,000 units a week that can be allocated to hospitals and health departments around the state. That statewide allotment hasn’t changed, but recently many of those vaccines were re-allocated to “mega-events,” at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Panther’s stadium, organized by the state.
“Some sites didn’t get anything this week so we’re grateful we still received some doses but the mega-events really cut down on what was left of those 120,000 doses over the last two weeks,” said Chris Tart, VP of professional services at Cape Fear Valley Health. “The reality is there’s not enough doses to go around for the entire state.”
Cape Fear Valley Health had to cut its distribution in half this week. Leaders say they asked for Bladen County Hospital to get 1,200 units and they only received 400.
“We shut off appointments last week and for this week as soon as we realized what was going to happen; otherwise, we would’ve had to cancel thousands of appointments, but we shut it off quick enough,” said Tart. “The state worked with us to give us some extra doses so we can honor the appointments that were already made.”
Hope is on the horizon though and state leaders plan to provide health departments and hospitals with advance notice of how much vaccine they will get three weeks out now, allowing them to plan better and get more people vaccinated, like Bladen County native Dennis Troy, who received his second shot this morning.
He’s not a fan of needles, but moments after receiving his final dose of vaccine, Troy said he felt more safe and secure already.
“So many folks are dying right now. I’ve got friends that have died and I hope this will keep me from going that way…and I hope that it’ll keep the public from going that way right now, so we can get back into the public, so we can go to work, so we can go to school, so we can have a normal life again. Right now this is a different life,” said Troy.
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