Haywood County shares COVID-19 vaccine update

Press release from the Haywood County Emergency Management team: 

In the midst of creating a system of fair and equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, many systems needed to be implemented in very short order. This included a system to register participants, a system to notify participants of appointment times, a method of ensuring fairness in the process, and the logistical system with which to actually administer vaccinations.

An enormous amount of hard work and long hours have been invested thus far in the vaccination rollout effort in Haywood County.

Unfortunately, in the process of implementing such systems, a mistake was made that we want to make the public aware of.

On Monday evening the initial batch of 550 names called for vaccination appointments inadvertently included about 150 people who had pre-registered but were not over the age of 75.

Our plan to ensure that vaccination appointments were assigned fairly was to randomize the list of names in the over 75 group and to call groups of people from that randomized list for appointments as vaccine became available.

The mistake that occurred Monday was that the entire list was randomized, including those under 75, and calls were placed to some people that should not have had their turn until later in the prioritization schedule.

We regret that error and immediately worked to correct the software flaw that caused it, and that situation has since been resolved. Because the mistake was caught early, it only affected the very first group of people who were contacted and will not be an issue going forward.

Our goal is to continue the process of pre-registering and scheduling appointments in the fairest and most equitable manner possible, following the guidelines issued by the CDC and the state.

The 150 people who were mistakenly contacted for vaccination appointments have been contacted to offer them the opportunity to voluntarily give up their appointment to someone over 75 if they wish.

We want to reassure the public that this mistake will not cause a significant delay in vaccinating those over 75. With the current numbers of available vaccines on hand and expected to be delivered, we anticipate having enough to vaccinate everyone over the age of 75 in the next week or two.

“With an effort this large and unprecedented, we anticipated that some missteps may occur along the way. Of course, we are all working very hard to prevent errors and regret this one. It is our goal to always be transparent in the process, work diligently to solve problems if they arise, and to keep everyone aware of the current situation as this vaccine rollout progresses. We know just how important this vaccine is to ending the pandemic and how many hopes are pinned on it,” said Interim Health Director Garron Bradish.

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