North Carolina vaccine providers consider strategies ahead of expected supply increase

Vaccinations look to gain further speed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - COVID-19 vaccine providers across North Carolina are preparing for the increase in vaccine supply expected in the next few weeks.

With that extra supply, comes the need for strategy on how to get the shots into arms.

Mecklenburg County Public Health is working with smaller medical clinics to transfer doses and help train them on best practices.

On Monday, Grace Medical Group in west Charlotte administered 150 doses, transferred from the health department.

”It is daunting,” Dr. Kenny Tokunboh with Grace Medical Clinic said. “Sometimes we wonder how we are going to pull it off.”

Dr. Tokunboh is bringing the shots to neighborhoods where people know and trust their doctors.

”We have been able to talk to patients and convince them to take the vaccine who otherwise would not have taken it,” he said.

CMS teacher Vincent Weathers was hesitant to take the shot, but he is glad he did it.

“Pretty painless I mean a little tight pinch,” Weathers said. “No problems at all.”

The clinic hired extra staff. It’s all hands on deck as they are calling people, posting online and even dropping off flyers to get the word out.

County leaders want clinics to prepare for even more vaccine.

”Once we have more J&J we may have more drive thru, more pop up events,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said.

Gaston County tried that out last week, giving out 900 single dose shots without requiring appointments.

They ran out of shots in about three hours and had to turn some people away.

”I think that something like that where we do a non-appointment clinic would work in the future when the demand isn’t quite so high,” Adam Gaub, Gaston County spokesperson, said.

It’s a learn-as-you-go mentality.

Dr. Tokunboh says the most rewarding part is seeing patients who were hesitant now recruiting their friends.

”They get the shot, nothing happens, now they’re the ones advocating and telling other people,” he said. “The turnaround has been amazing.”

Grace Medical Clinic is giving out another 100 shots by appointment only at their east Charlotte location on Wednesday.

Their next goal is a mass vaccination site with local churches.

For information on appointments, call 704-409-3000.

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