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Limited vaccine could slow distribution

Limited vaccine could slow distribution

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Some counties are getting a limited number of doses of COVID-19 for the coming three weeks, slowing the vaccination rate.

Alexander County received their first promised shipment of 300 Moderna vaccine on Tuesday, Alexander County Health Department Director Leeanne Whisnant said. The state promised at least 300 doses for the county for three weeks, including this week.

The health department is able to administer the doses in less than two days. If there were doses available, the health department could administer 600 to 800 doses a week, which is what the department hoped for, Whisnant said. Previously, the county received 1,200 doses one week, 975 another and 400 doses another week.

“I was very disappointed in the decrease,” she said.

At this rate, it will take months to get through the current vaccination group of people 65 and older, she said. There are at least 2,900 people already on the waiting list and many more who haven’t signed up, she said.

The county won’t be able to move into the next group, essential workers, until people 65 and older are vaccinated, Whisnant said.

“Our teachers and child care providers are needing (the vaccine) desperately,” she said. “These essential workers need the vaccine.”

Whisnant is hoping for larger shipments in the future but has not heard from the state what will come.

Burke County is in the same position, with the promised shipments smaller than what the county was previously getting, according to a press release from the county health department.

Burke County was informed the health department would only receive 200 doses of the vaccine for three weeks and the Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge hospital will receive 500 doses each week.

Because of the decrease in doses, the county expects appointments to fill quickly.

“We are asking that everyone please be patient and understand that everyone who wished to receive a vaccine will eventually get one, but it will not happen in a couple weeks,” the press release said. “There is more demand for the vaccine than there is supply to anywhere in the state or nation.”

Caldwell County’s health department has been promised 400 doses for three weeks, Caldwell County Public Information Officer Paige Counts said. The county does not know how many doses it will receive after that.

Catawba County Public Health was told by the state that its weekly base allocation of 975 would stay stable for the coming weeks, Community Engagement Specialist Emily Killian said.

Case count

Catawba County reported 93 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county total up to 15,856, according to Catawba County Public Health.

One additional death was reported Thursday. There have been 254 county residents who have died.

There are 93 residents hospitalized with the virus.

Statewide, North Carolina reported 5,495 cases Thursday, bringing the state total to 781,802. There are 2,630 people hospitalized with the virus and 9,728 have died.

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