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Second round of county health vaccinations fills quickly
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Second round of county health vaccinations fills quickly

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The Forsyth County Department of Public Health reopened its vaccination appointment website for a second time Wednesday, with appointments being filled in less than four hours.

The department began accepting applications at 5 p.m. with the goal of accommodating up to 2,700 individuals. The website is forsyth.cc/covidupdate.

This round of appointments is for Sunday through Tuesday in the Education Building at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds off Deacon Boulevard.

Mayor Allen Joines said Wednesday he received his first vaccine dose through the county health department. Joines, 73, became eligible when the governor allowed individuals 65 to 74 to be vaccinated under Phase 1B.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the website alternated from showing several mid- and late-morning and afternoon slots left for each day, and then showing one or more days had been filled.

Shontell Robinson, the deputy county manager, said at 8 p.m. Wednesday that when one of the days initially showed full “that’s because they were still adding more appointments on the back end.”

The department said every time slot was filled by 8:39 p.m.

The plan is to provide vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, while weekend hours have not been formalized.

Appointments are being accepted for people ages 65 and older and for health-care workers in the Phase 1A category. The appointments are based on the latest vaccine allotment from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The website opened for the first time for 7½ hours on Jan. 16 before filling all 2,300 appointments through Saturday.

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Joshua Swift, the county's health director, said Tuesday the department expects to increase its daily vaccination dose totals from 550 to more than 1,000 with the move to the Fairgrounds. The department has vaccinated about 7,100 individuals to date.

The department suspended call-in appointments Jan. 7. It has a stand-by list for potential appointments between Wednesday and Saturday if there are cancellations.

People making online appointments will receive an email confirmation that will allow users to cancel the appointment if necessary. It’s important to either attend the appointment or cancel at least two hours ahead of time so staff can schedule someone else.

Screening questions will be reviewed by staff, and those who do not meet the criteria will have their appointments canceled.

“The goal is to get into a rhythm of opening up appointments in the later part of one week for the following week,” Swift said. “Once those are booked up, we’ll close appointments” until the next weekly cycle begins.

Novant Health Inc. officials expressed confidence Tuesday that the system will open its mass-vaccination site Monday in the former Sears store at Hanes Mall.

Novant also has plans to vaccinate about 150 people with a local clinic Saturday focused on minority communities. The site had not been confirmed as of noon Wednesday.

Swift said the county currently has 12 vaccinators available. He said conversations are underway with Novant and Atrium Health about getting staff from the health-care systems for the county mass-vaccination site.

On Wednesday, Harris Teeter said it plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in a phased approach to eligible individuals when doses are available to pharmacies.

The grocery chain has pharmacy services at the following Triad locations: Winston-Salem — 2281 Cloverdale Ave., 2835 Reynolda Road, 1955 N. Peacehaven Road, 150 Grant Hill Lane; Kernersville — 971 S. Main St.; High Point — 265 Eastchester Drive, 1589 Skeet Club Road; Greensboro — 701 Francis King St., 1605 New Garden St., 5710-W W Gate City Blvd., 4010 Battleground Ave., 3330 W. Friendly Ave., 2639 Lawndale Drive and 401 Pisgah Church Road. 

The no-cost vaccination will be available by appointment only. Individuals with an appointment will need to provide a valid driver’s license or government issued identification card. Individuals with health insurance should bring their insurance card to their appointment.

For more information, go to https://www.harristeeter.com/covidcare.

336-727-7376

@rcraverWSJ

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