‘Don’t give up.’ 74-yr-old among first patients in expanded age group to secure vaccine appointment

Hospitals vaccinating people 65 and older

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Thursday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said vaccinators could expand their efforts to give shots to anyone 65 years or older.

But for many health organizations providing vaccinations, there is still a short supply.

Despite the hurdles, 74-year-old Frank Tatum told WBTV he was able to get an appointment, and he wants others to not lose hope.

“For the last year like most everyone else we’ve been sitting here in the house not going anywhere unless absolutely necessary,” Tatum said.

Tatum misses the days of traveling and spending time with his grandchildren.

Just four months shy of turning 75 years old, which was the initial age requirement for a vaccine, he was turned away from the Mecklenburg County Health Department earlier this week.

“How much longer am I gonna have to wait?” he said.

When the rollout expanded to 65 and up on Thursday, his hope was restored.

“I was very excited to get started in this process,” he said.

But the health department is booked through mid-July.

Appointments are available through Atrium and Novant Health, but they are filling up quickly.

“We are just truly limited by the supply and some of that is at a production level and some of it is how it’s managed from the federal government down,” Dr. Pam Oliver, President of Novant Health Medical Group, said.

Tatum says he called Novant Health Thursday night.

“The lady said ‘it just went online’ and I said ‘well I want one’! I want one!’” he said.

He is booked for his first shot on Monday, and he wants others to keep the faith.

“Just keep looking and keep looking and don’t give up because we can’t,” he said. “We’ve got to get everyone covered in this.”

Novant and Atrium Health are planning mass vaccination sites to speed things up across the state.

Dr. Oliver with Novant Health says their efforts will only be possible if they can get a larger allotment of the vaccine.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION:

To sign up through Atrium Health, you can sign onto your account here or call Atrium Health.

To sign up through Novant Health, you can sign onto your account here or call the hotline: 855-NH-VAC-4U (855-648-2248).

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.