Commissioner Deb Hays raises vaccine supply concerns to legislators

30,000 vaccine doses coming to Walgreen's locations

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The news that Walgreens pharmacies across our state will receive 30,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines was met with some immediate concern from local government officials in New Hanover County who want to see a greater supply of vaccine to the county.

New Hanover county Commissioner Deb Hays emailed elected representatives in Raleigh to clarify where those vaccines will come from and whether the state set aside 30,000 doses for Walgreens that could have gone to counties for distribution.

She wrote, in part:

“I have heard from our legislators,” Hays said Wednesday afternoon. “Every single one of them has responded back [saying] ’yes we will ask the questions. Thank you so much for sending the email.’”

“They’re on it,” Hays said. “They’re dedicated to this area and to their constituents so they’re asking, they’re going to the state health and human services.”

Hays says NHRMC was expecting 30,000 vaccines over a three-week period, with plans for mass distribution but then that delivery was cancelled.

Her email to state legislators also said, in part:

Secretary Mandy Cohen says the supply for Walgreens will come from a federal allotment separate from what the state receives for county distribution.

According to Walgreens, 300 North Carolina stores will begin providing vaccines based on an initial allotment of over 30,000 doses February 12.

Appointments for those eligible will be made online through Walgreens.

Hays isn’t only concerned about New Hanover County; she believes NHRMC and community partners are prepared to serve as a regional hub.

“Our DHHS staff is capable of getting 1000 vaccines a day out into people’s arms,” she said. “With the help of the hospital and Wilmington Health we can do 10,000 vaccines a week, had we had that supply. For the past three weeks we could have vaccinated all of the citizens 65 and older that want the vaccine—and most of them do—and we could be vaccinating our teachers and our education support staff and getting our students back in school.”

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