Buncombe County to provide wait list option for scheduling COVID-19 vaccines

Press release from Buncombe County Health and Human Services:

Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) will launch a COVID-19 wait list for individuals in the first two phases of the state’s vaccination priority list: adults 65 and older and all health care workers this week. When the wait list opens, individuals can sign up for the wait list by calling 828-250-5000 or by going towww.buncombeready.org. As vaccines are received from the state, representatives from the Ready Team will contact individuals on the wait list to schedule their appointments. This is a different process from scheduling appointments to date, and BCHHS will no longer open up appointments for direct scheduling by the public.

Buncombe County will announce the opening of the wait list through its newsletter, on social media, through text alerts and via the media. To sign up for the newsletter, visit www.buncombeready.org and select “COVID-19 newsletter sign-up.” To sign up for text messaging, text “BCAlert” to 777-888.

The goal of BCHHS is to provide COVID-19 vaccines quickly to as many people as possible in accordance with the vaccination groups identified by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). Because vaccine supplies are currently limited, states must make vaccine available in phases. View the phases here: https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/vaccines/NCDHHS-Vaccine-Infographic.pdf. Once the wait list opens, we anticipate that phone and web traffic will be heavy, and we ask the community to continue to be patient.

For individuals who need their second dose of the COVID vaccine, drive through clinics will be held at local high schools. Those individuals who received their vaccines prior to Jan. 20 will be contacted individually by a Ready Team member with next steps including date, time and location of next dose. Those who receive their vaccines on or after Jan. 20 will receive a card with next steps at the time of their first vaccination. Persons in need of a second dose do not need to go online or call to schedule that appointment.

Vaccine supplies are distributed weekly from the state and are currently very limited. More appointments will be added as vaccines become available. As we move through the wait list, our staff will make two attempts to reach you using the contact information on the wait list registration so please be sure it is accurate before you submit it. For planning purposes, individuals will receive a call from the Ready Team at (828) 419-0095. If individuals cannot be reached after first attempt they will remain in their position on the list and a second attempt will be made as appointments remain available. After two unsuccessful attempts, individuals lose their position on the waitlist and will be moved to the end of the waitlist for available appointments. Please know demand is incredibly high, and staff is working to contact those who sign up as quickly as possible. Be sure to answer the call.  Please do not sign up for the waitlist more than once.

Current COVID Statistics:

·       The current percent positivity rate for Buncombe County is 8.8.

·       This current positivity rate reflects a decrease from last week’s rate of 11.7.

·       13.1% of inpatient hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients.

·       The Board of Commissioners will revisit restaurant capacity limits after next week’s briefing.

·       Testing is still widely available and can be accessed atwww.buncombeready.org.

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Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

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