New Hanover County shifts to walk-in clinics to keep COVID vaccinations going

Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 8:01 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - At one point during the pandemic, New Hanover County’s Health Department vaccinated nearly 1500 people a day for COVID-19. The demand has dropped considerably in recent weeks, so health officials are shifting to a new strategy to get people in the door.

They’ve stopped requiring appointments, and are setting up in convenient locations with lots of foot traffic, hoping to make it really easy for people to get vaccinated. Thanks to that shift, they are still helping hundreds of people a day get vaccinated against the virus. That doesn’t include people getting vaccinated locally at private locations like Wilmington Health and Walgreens.

The health department set up a free vaccination clinic at Independence Mall on Monday. People as young as 16 showed up and rolled up their sleeves for their first dose of the vaccine.

“It just helps everyone, if everyone just decides, ‘Hey, I’ll get the shot,’” 16-year-old Drake Chase told WECT minutes after being vaccinated. “My grandma is high risk and she lives with us, so, it was kind of like needed for everyone in our household to get the vaccine.”

Others we spoke to also said protecting their family members motivated them to get vaccinated Monday.

“My dad actually passed away this year, from COVID. He got it right before Christmas, and he survived probably until the end of February, so that was one of the [factors in my decision],” Paul Weedon shared. “My older brother is on chemo right now, so just if I’m around family, older people, [I need to protect them].”

The free clinic at the mall will be open again Tuesday from noon until 7 p.m. There’s also a county clinic offered Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cape Fear Community College Schwartz Center. For the latest information on clinics being offered by the health department, click here.

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