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Cleveland County family upset about missing COVID-19 vaccine money

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:55 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 12:50 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Cleveland County family is speaking out after waiting weeks to get their vaccine incentive from the state.

When it came time to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Tabatha Grayson says she wasn’t the first in line for it. But when the state started offering a $100 gift card per shot, her family of four headed to a local healthcare provider to roll up their sleeves.

“We went, we were sitting in line, the lady came out, she said ‘We’ve run out of gift cards; we’ll send it to you in the mail within seven days,’” Grayson said.

Days turned to weeks, which turned to months, and still, no sign of the promised $400 for Grayson and her family.

“We’re kinda like where’s it at? It should have been here by now,” Grayson said.

The state handles distributing those gift cards.

“It may not be a lot of money to a lot of people, but to people like us that’s a lot of money.”

Grayson has been checking her mailbox for months for the cash cards.

“Frustrating because we’re two months from getting our vaccine and still can’t get any answers from what’s going on,” said Grayson.

Grayson says several calls and emails came back with the same answer – ‘it’ll be here in a week.’ But the money never showed up.

“The hundred dollars is a big reason we got it in the first place,” she said.

WBTV spoke with the healthcare provider that gave the family the shot.

Kintegra Health says they’ve gotten other complaints about people not getting their money and that they reached out to the state to get some answers—but haven’t heard back yet.

Grayson says this all should have been better planned out.

“It’s irritating, it’s aggravating, I’m just upset because I wish we could just get some answers,” Grayson murmured.

In the original story that aired, WBTV reported the Gaston County Health Department was responsible for those gift cards and the problems this family was facing.

In this case, the health department’s only involvement was promoting the incentive which again is managed by the state.

An official with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said they rely on Summer Card providers to give an accounting of who is owed a card. If there are accidental typos in a recipient’s address or records that may have been submitted, it could mean a recipient’s card is delayed or returned to the sender, according to the NCDHHS.

“We believe this has happened in a very small number of cases, and we are starting a process to audit each provider’s records to catch anyone who was missed. It will take some time, but we are confident we will catch anyone who fell through the cracks,” said Kelly Haight Connor, with the NCDHHS.

Those who have questions about the program, or if they believe they are still owed a card, can call the N.C. COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at (888) 675-4567.

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