CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Thousands of people are now eligible to get the vaccine in the Carolinas.
Starting on Wednesday, thousands more will be eligible as part of Group 4 becomes prioritized.
But right now, there aren’t enough appointments available for everyone who wants a vaccination.
Vaccine providers say it takes a lot of luck and persistence to get a vaccine appointment. The Vaccine Team is on your side talking to providers about the best tips and tricks to get an appointment.
“It is very difficult to get spots anywhere. There are still limited amounts of the vaccine available,” said Arin Piramzadian who runs StarMed.
StarMed partnered with Mecklenburg County to help administer the county’s doses to more people. They have a vaccination clinic starting on Thursday where thousands of people will get vaccinated. Those appointments filled up in just a few hours.
“Honestly is it somewhat luck. Especially with so many people being eligible at this time. You do have to check quite often,” Piramzadian said.
The advice is to check often and check multiple locations. But there are more places to check than just your county public health department and large hospital systems.
CVS, Walgreens and some Harris Teeter locations are administering vaccinations through either state or county partnerships.
Several smaller pharmacies in Mecklenburg County are vaccinating as well with supply given to them from Mecklenburg County.
“Don’t hesitate, schedule right away, the times go really quickly,” said Dr. Martez Prince who owns Premier Pharmacy in East Charlotte.
He says they can’t plan too far in advance because they never know what their supply will be. That’s why he recommends getting on as many waitlists as possible for the vaccinations from multiple providers.
“Individuals have been on our waitlist for less than 5 days because as soon as we find out the allocation we roll out and get individuals scheduled,” Prince said.
CVS, Walgreens and Harris Teeter do not have formal waitlists but you can pre-register for the vaccines on their websites.
“We update our schedule as soon as we have the vaccine in hand,” said Danna Robinson with Harris Teeter. “Delivery times do vary by store so we can update our scheduler several times a day. We do encourage individuals to check back as often as they can.”
Vaccine supply is low, that’s the main issue with not enough appointments. But StarMed says there’s another problem as well.
“The problem is people are making multiple appointments, and then they’re not showing up to their appointments. The problem is we have a large no show rate,” said Dr. Piramzadian
He says there’s a 10% no-show rate.
Star Med also has a waitlist for the vaccine, which is currently at about 4,000 people.
Although appointments in Mecklenburg County fill up very quickly, if you’re able to take a road trip to your appointment, there are appointments available through Novant in places like Winston Salem.
There also seems to be less competition in Greensboro for vaccine appointments.
StarMed also has other locations in more rural counties, if you’re willing to drive they say those don’t fill up as quickly.