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March 6, 2021

Ask Us: How will county administer second doses of vaccine?

SALISBURY — For the previous few weeks, drive-thru events have been the method of choice for first dose vaccination clinics at West End Plaza, and this will be the first week in which the drive-thru method is used to deliver second doses.

As the number of local people vaccinated has slowly increased, readers have asked about what to expect when it’s time to receive a second dose. TJ Brown, Rowan County Emergency Management division chief, said plans are to use Thursdays for second shot drive-thru events. First shots have been administered on Wednesdays.

This week, about 460 people are eligible to receive second shots because they received a first dose 28 days ago — the period for the Moderna vaccine. Brown said the people are health care or other frontline workers.

He said eligible people received a notification by phone or email. Those eligible were asked to West End Plaza at a specified time based on the first letter of their last name. Anyone who can’t make it at the time specified for their name must arrive before 3 p.m.

Brown said the number from which people will receive a call is 980-432-1800. It will play an automated message that Brown recorded with his voice. He said it’s important people know it’s not a scam call. It’s the same number as the county’s COVID-19 information line.

If people receive an email, it will be from “RoCo CoVID Info.” The email address is noreply@everbridge.net.

Those receiving a second dose will be asked to bring their vaccination card and stay 15 minutes after receiving the shot in case there are any reactions.

If there’s bad weather, people scheduled to receive a second dose should visit rowancountync.gov.covid-19 for any changes. The county has created a website with information about second doses at rowancountync.gov/1672/Second-Dose-Clinics.

Why has county continued first-come, first-served model?

With the number of cars lining up for a vaccine often exceeding doses available, readers also asked why the county has stuck with a first-come, first-served model, particularly because drive-thru appointments are being used in neighboring communities.

In previous news releases, the Health Department described the first-come, first-served model as allowing the most citizens to be served in the least amount of time and ensuring no vaccine doses are wasted because they must be used six hours after opening. Last week, the county estimated it administered about 200 doses an hour.

Flexibility is another benefit mentioned by the Health Department.

“We are uncertain of when we will receive more vaccine shipments from the state, or how many vaccines will be received in those shipments,” stated a news release issued Jan. 16. “We would not be able to schedule appointments until vaccines were in-hand, and we do not know when that will occur from week to week.”

An appointment model, the Health Department said, requires people to schedule and update appointments as well as those already working the drive-thru.

But the department also acknowledged frustrations about traffic caused for a limited supply and people making multiple trips and not arriving in time to get a vaccine. Brown said Friday that the county was actively looking at how to make an appointment model happen.

For appointment model advocates, good news came Sunday when the Health Department said it would switch to appointments.

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