CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In February, more than 300 Walgreens locations in North Carolina started offering the COVID-19 vaccine.
It means one more option for people currently eligible for the shot, but some people are reporting issues with the system.
As an assistant director for a local child care center, Rachel Kaplan was excited to secure first and second-dose appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine through Walgreens.
Kaplan scheduled her first appointment for February 27 at the Walgreens on Park Road in Quail Corners Shopping Center.
“When I got there, they did not have my appointment on their books, therefore there was no vaccine available there for me,” Kaplan told WBTV. “I was able to show them on my phone on the app that I had an appointment scheduled and a confirmation.”
Kaplan said the pharmacy made calls to get her a leftover dose at another location.
“Luckily there was another store that was by there that could give me the first dose, however, because it was a walk-in, I do not have a second dose scheduled,” she said. “I just have to hope for the best and hope I can get it in time.”
Kaplan said appointments can only be made a few days in advance, so she has to wait.
“They said I would have to call two days in advance from my date and hope that they have enough that day,” she said.
WBTV took her concerns to the Mecklenburg County Public Health Director to find out if the health department could offer second doses in situations like this.
Gibbie Harris told WBTV the health department would have a conversation with anyone in an extraordinary situation like this, but it is complicated.
“The challenge is, we receive the number of second doses based on the number of first doses we administered, so to open up to others who got first doses someone else, that means the individuals who got vaccinated through us might not get their second dose,” Harris said.
Atrium Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Little also weighed in on the issue.
“It’s really complicated to figure out how to be able to do it,” Dr. Little said. “We have been able to do it in one-off situations, but our team is working on a way to actually carry that out. I think our biggest challenge is we don’t know how many vaccines to allot for that, because we don’t know the demand of how many people are not getting their second dose where they got their first dose.”
Kaplan is worried she might not get the second dose in time.
“I’ve been working non-stop throughout this pandemic,” she said. “I wear a mask all day. I want to be able to see my family, I want to be able to see my friends, I want to be able to be there for my staff, for my kids, and for my families here as well.”
Kaplan is not the only person with concerns.
Another WBTV viewer reached out to us saying she could not book appointments at all.
She said although there are first doses available, the pharmacy did not have second dose appointments. The website does not allow a first dose appointment to be scheduled without a second dose appointment.
On social media, people across the country are reporting that same issue.
WBTV reached out to Walgreens by phone and email but did not get a response.