Tryon Medical Partners CEO challenges health care groups to exhaust vaccine supply within 24 hours

Medical group works to speed up vaccinations in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The CEO of Tryon Medical Partners in Charlotte is making bold suggestions on how the COVID-19 vaccination process should evolve.

Dr. Dale Owen says his medical group is still waiting for its’ first shipment of the vaccine, along with other independent healthcare groups not included in the initial rollout.

He says they are ready to change the model, by dramatically dialing up the speed of vaccinations.

“We’ve been certified to receive a small dose of the vaccine probably next week,” Dr. Owens said.

The group is expecting 100-200 doses through a transfer from the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Dr. Owens is anxious for his team to start putting shots in arms.

“I think the hospitals are doing a great job, they’re doing all they can, but this should be a full medical community involved,” he said. “We’re all fighting for the same thing, and that’s to stop this covid-19.”

The group already has the capacity for hundreds of thousands of doses and eight vaccination sites.

He says statewide, health care groups need to open more locations for administering shots with expanded or even 24 hour operations.

“We’re gonna be in a position where we need a lot more supply,” he said. “That supply will be developing. When that vast amount of patient volume comes in, we’re gonna have to have distribution centers five to 10 times the number that we have currently.”

He said the speed of vaccinations needs to increase.

“I would challenge all of the communities delivering vaccine that we really ought to be doing this within 24 hours of receipt,” he said.

He believes the current model of exhausting vaccine supply within a week, is not going to cut it.

“If it still takes four to seven days even with a limited supply, that’s still too long,” he said.

He says the time to make this change is now.

“We help stop this rate of potential mutations,” he said. “We cannot afford to have a mutation that renders our vaccines and previous immunity ineffective, it’s like starting all over again.”

Dr. Owen also says he was asked to consult with the Biden transition team.

One of his strong recommendations to them was to blur the lines between the phases.

Once supply increases, if there are enough sites, he believes the shot could be made available to anyone regardless of priority.

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