Health departments across the state have been relying on community colleges’ facilities, faculty, and students to run vaccination clinics.
New policies from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction recommend all elementary schools open for in-person learning under Plan A, which does not require 6-foot social distancing between students and teachers. Middle and high schools are encouraged to reopen in-person under Plan B, which requires 6-foot social distancing at all times.
by Irene Olds
As of Jan. 21, more than half a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been distributed throughout the state, although supplies remain far lower than demand.
“We recognize that it’s not a perfect system and the demand is quite high,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County’s public health director, at a Jan. 12 special meeting called to address local vaccination efforts. “We just want to reiterate that we will not have sufficient supply of vaccine for a very long time, so it is likely that we will still hear frustration and concerns about being able to get an appointment.”
According to a press release issued the morning of Jan. 7, county officials are working with Charter Communications to resolve the “vendor-related issue” as quickly as possible. As a temporary workaround, callers are instructed to call the Buncombe Ready team at 828-419-0095.
County health officials will move into phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination process the week of Monday, Jan. 11. But as the vaccine rollout gets underway, residents should prepare for limited availability.
While there’s light at the end of the proverbial COVID-19 tunnel, Western North Carolina residents cannot let down their guard. Over the last week, the percent of positive COVID-19 tests has risen to 7.8% in Buncombe County; the county’s daily COVID-19 case counts now average 100 or higher.
Some NC hospitals have clear plans while others still working out details. Some not responding to questions about COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
State plans to make COVID-19 vaccine available for free, prioritized first to health care workers, residents and workers at long-term care facilities.