• 43°

Small number of NC vaccine doses thrown out, official says

By Bryan Anderson

Associated Press/Report for America

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s top public official acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that the state has seen a small number of coronavirus vaccine doses thrown out at a time when supplies remain limited.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen also announced a new $2.5 million effort with the Department of Transportation to provide free transportation to and from vaccination clinics.

Still, North Carolina has seen an unspecified number of doses scrapped. The state has not publicly shared the number of wasted doses due to a vaccine being stored too long in a freezer or not being administered in a timely manner once it has been taken out of a freezer. Cohen estimated the waste is “in the tens of doses.”

The discarded supplies pale in comparison to the 573,130 doses administered by the end of Wednesday. The state is working to ramp up vaccination through its new transportation initiative.
People in need of rides to vaccination clinics are encouraged to reach out to their local transit agency. Each agency will get a set amount of money, and the program will continue until the Coronavirus Relief Funding is exhausted.

“Lack of transportation shouldn’t be the reason someone doesn’t get their shot,” Cohen said at a news conference.

Asked about vaccine supply shortages from the federal government, Cohen said she wants the existing supply of first doses to dwindle, which would demonstrate that the state is more efficiently utilizing its resources.

“That is our goal,” she said. “To run out of vaccines every week before the next shipment comes, and that’s what we have directed our local health departments and hospitals. Yes, we are running out of vaccines in all places.”

Cohen wants the 136 different vaccine providers in the state to develop waiting lists for residents 65 years or older who are currently eligible to get vaccinated. Some Charlotte-area residents cancelled existing vaccine appointments after earlier ones became available.

In cases where wait lists aren’t yet in place, she is urging vaccinators to grab someone off the street to ensure no additional doses go to waste.

“The supplies are truly limited, and everyone’s going to have to have some patience here as we work to get more vaccine here into the state over a period of time,” Cohen said.

The state health department is working to address concerns that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not adequately representing the state’s vaccine progress on a website where it releases vaccine data. The CDC data on Wednesday ranked North Carolina as the 11th slowest state in the country in administering doses per capita and underrepresented the number of doses North Carolina has administered to date by about 150,000.

Cohen urged people to look at the state’s dashboard for the latest numbers, rather than the CDC.

“Many of those rankings and charts are out of date,” Cohen said. “We’ve actually already flagged for the CDC to understand what the data lag and data discrepancy is between what we’re seeing here in North Carolina and the data we do submit to them every night to make sure that we can line that up a bit better.”

The Trump administration said earlier this month that it would base vaccine allocations on the percentage of doses each state has successfully administered and the number of elderly residents in each state, but President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the agency has not yet been confirmed or put forward new guidance.

Comments

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget