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North Carolina lawmakers frustrated with slow vaccine rollout, health departments looking to improve vaccine distribution

House Rep. & co-chair of the health oversight committee Donny Lambeth wants Dr. Cohen to follow federal recommendations and allow folks 65 and older to get vaccine.

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — As state lawmakers push for a faster rollout of the vaccine, local health departments are trying to become more efficient.

Forsyth County has given out 4,500 of 9,000 vaccine's allocated by the state since their roll out in December.

Joshua Swift, Forsyth County Health Director said they received an additional 3,000, Tuesday.

With the current space available, they’re able to vaccinate about 500 per day.

 “We are making plans to expand to a larger location too,” Swift said. “So we can expand our thru-put.”

The fairgrounds is a possible location.

The health department has also accepted help from the state.

“The national guard sent 12 staff which four can give the vaccine,” Swift said. “We appreciate that help to augment what we're doing.”

According to the state's health and human services secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, 417,000 vaccine doses have been allocated to hospitals, local health departments and long-term care facilities as of Monday.

About 257,000 doses had been administered.

House representative and co-chair of the health oversight committee Donny Lambeth is encouraging the Sr. Cohen to get pharmacies involved.

“We need to get these retail pharmacies engaged and ready to give out vaccinations. We need to get them online  just like the flu shots,” Lambeth said. “They're a good sight for vaccinations. I pushed the secretary to get those sights online."


Lambeth and his colleagues met with Dr. Cohen during a health committee hearing, Tuesday.

Lambeth wants Dr. Cohen to follow federal recommendations and allow folks 65 and older to get the shot.

" I think it's realistic and I've encouraged the secretary to revise the criteria,” Lambeth said. “We need to get out as many shots as we can as quick as we can.”

If those 65 and older are added to Phase 1b, Swift said they’ll have to adjust.

 "There are over 25,000 folks 75 and older in Forsyth that will be a much larger number if you factor in 65 and older,” Swift said. “We will adjust as necessary to get the vaccine out.”