Press release from the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services:
Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, quantity of 700 doses, on December 21. Within 24 hours of receiving the shipment, BCHHS began vaccinating individuals in the Phase 1A group. Buncombe County HHS has received two subsequent weekly shipments of vaccine of 975 doses each on December 30 and January 5. BC HHS continues to vaccinate Phase 1a population in the week of January 4. As of time of release, over 1,200 individuals in total have been vaccinated by Buncombe County HHS and Emergency Services.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) will open Phase 1B in small groups due to the limited vaccine supply. Phase 1B Group 1 will begin with persons 75 years and older in order to best manage vaccine dose availability. BCHHS will begin vaccinating this population the week of January 11, 2021.
Important Details for Week of January 11, 2021:
- People who fall into Phase 1B (those 75 and over) can call BCHHS starting Thursday, January 7, 2020 to schedule their COVID-19 immunization.
- Appointments can be made by calling (828) 250-5000, Monday-Friday, between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. As long as vaccine supply is available, appointments will be available for this population. If you are not in this age group, please refer the BCHHS COVID-19website for information regarding the future phases.
- Vaccine supply is extremely limited during the first phases of the vaccination effort. For this reason, you must have an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Buncombe County at this time.
- When making your appointment, you will receive information on where and when to arrive for your vaccine. In order to maintain a steady flow of appointments and a safe environment, please arrive at your scheduled time.
- Remember, two COVID-19 shots are necessary to build up immunity and we have a plan to help everyone get both doses. The second shot will come 3-4 weeks after the first. It is important to get two doses of the same vaccine.
- The vaccine is free to everyone, even if you don’t have health insurance. While there is a small administrative fee covered by insurance, cost will not be a barrier to your COVID-19 immunization.
- Your ability to get a vaccine is not impacted by your citizenship status and there is not an ID requirement. You (or a legal guardian) will need to sign a consent form to get the vaccine when you arrive. Language services will be available on site.
- Please plan for safe transportation to the immunization site. Drivers and riders should wear masks and social distance to the extent possible. Please wear a mask to the immunization site.
How to help:
As we move through the phases of the vaccination process, we ask our community to be patient. We are only able to schedule appointments based on the amount of vaccine that is shipped to our county. Please continue to practice the 3Ws and limit your exposure to others as much as possible. It will take all of us practicing the 3Ws with the vaccine, to crush COVID.
Phased Vaccination Groups:
To see all the groups for Phases 1b and Phase 2 please review this Infographic of Vaccine Phases. As we move through new phases of vaccine distribution, BCHHS will provide information by phone, website, and via media partners. We will also coordinate closely with our community partners and networks to ensure that frontline workers have a clear path to immunizations in the later subgroups of 1B.2 and 1B.3.
The vaccination effort continues to be a fluid situation and will require patience and diligence from our community as this process depends on the vaccine supplies received each week. Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County Public Health Director, emphasizes the bigger picture of the pandemic response and says, “It is important for everyone in Buncombe County to continue following the public health guidance as we move through the subsequent phases of the vaccination plan. Full implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine plan is expected to take months, so we encourage residents to continue to follow all protective measures like wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distance from others and avoiding gatherings. We are working as hard as we can given vaccine supply limitations to get vaccine into our community.”
For more information:
BCHHS will provide information on the Buncombe Ready website, social media, and through our call center in the coming days, weeks, and months. We will continue to work closely with partner organizations, community messengers, and local media outlets to provide information throughout the phased vaccination process.