BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County has received enough COVID-19 vaccines to cover all of its first dose appointments for the week of Feb. 8-12, according to a Facebook post Friday.
“Any decisions concerning the potential rescheduling of first dose appointments during the third week of February (Feb. 15-19) will be determined based on future allocations the NC Department of Health and Human Services sends to county vaccine providers,” the county’s Facebook post states.
The county also stated that all appointments for second doses are not affected “as supplies for these doses are already accounted for and are shipped to vaccine providers when needed.”
However, county officials are frustrated that the county isn’t getting more doses from the state, considering the high percentage of seniors who call Brunswick County home.
“I would love it if they would ship more [vaccine doses] to Brunswick County, but to be quite honest with you, the directive that is coming from the state is telling our residents 65 and older, you just need to go elsewhere and find your vaccine and go there and get it,” Brunswick County Commission Chair Randy Thompson told WECT Monday.
He had a late afternoon conference call scheduled with the communications director for NC Health and Human Services Director Mandy Cohen to discuss concerns that Brunswick County is not getting enough vaccine to serve the estimated 45,000 residents living there who are over the age of 65. Thompson said only 15,000 Brunswick residents have received the vaccine to date, and that includes many front line health care workers who are younger than 65 but were first in line for vaccinations.
“That’s only a third of those over 65, and how in the world are we going to start talking about doing the next grouping until we properly address that within our county?” Thompson wondered. “So that’s where we’re at and what we need is, instead, about 1,200 doses a week; we need about 1,200 doses a week to be able to really move.”
Because some senior residents have been heeding the call to drive to cities that have more vaccine available, those residents were able to cancel the appointments that they’d previously booked to be vaccinated in Brunswick County, freeing up spots for others to be vaccinated locally.
Thompson said the state’s current formula for distributing the vaccine is apparently based on total population size, not taking into account the age of the county’s residents.
He’s hopeful that the state will start to listen to individual county leaders to better understand unique situations they are having administering the vaccines. In the meantime, for seniors anxious to get vaccinated now, he advises it might be best to travel if you can.
“It might make it easier, and our residents might be better suited, and be able to afford time-wise and travel-wise to go elsewhere to get their vaccines, rather than waiting for the state to provide them here in our county. And we don’t quite understand that, but apparently that’s what’s taking place,” Thompson said.