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'It's a start' | Guilford County expecting more COVID-19 vaccine doses as state moves to population-based shipments

Guilford County leaders are still pushing for more vaccine doses after receiving only 500 this week.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — County health leaders gave an update on vaccinations Wednesday.

This week's vaccine shipments were small across the state. Guilford County will only get 500 doses Thursday. 

Guilford County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann said more than 13,000 first doses have been given across the county. 

She also said 31% of those doses have gone to the arms of African Americans, compared to 11% statewide.

The county kept all it's scheduled vaccine appointments thanks to a boost from Atrium Health.

"We should receive them today. We are very excited to get those doses it will allow us to continue our commitment to the independent facilities," Dr. Vann said.

Those 400 Atrium doses will combine with the 500 doses from the state.

Dr. Vann said not one single dose is going unused.

"We did not waste any vaccine so far," Vann said, "We've done a very good job following the manufacturers' instructions on how to transport them, how to store them and how to administer them."

Emergency Management Director Don Campbell said the county checks dose supplies midway through each day to make sure it matches up with how many appointments are left. There are also patients on standby for extra doses.

We have a standing list of individuals who are helping us at that vaccine site and others in the community who maybe had to cancel their vaccine appointment because of a reschedule process and we're able to reach them on short notice to make that process happen," Campbell said.

Guilford County leaders are hoping for more vaccine doses as the state changes the way it gives them out.

The state said shipment sizes will now be based on county population but some county leaders worry that still won't be enough to meet demand.

"That's still putting a bandaid on an open wound," Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Skip Alston said, "We need twice that. We need as many vaccines as they can produce delivered to us."

Alston expects Guilford County's vaccine supply to increase since it's one of the most populous in the state.

The state expects 120,000 doses from the federal government next week and will hold back 84,000 doses for vaccine providers.

NCDHHS told WFMY News 2 in a statement that providers will soon get a baseline of vaccine amounts they can expect for the next three weeks.

Alston believes that Guilford County's baseline could be around 5,000 a week based on these metrics but under the new system, that amount would be split between the county's providers. He believes there's room to do more.

"We could possibly do 25 to 30 thousand a week. It's a slow start but at least it's a start," Alston said.

Meanwhile, leaders are hopeful the state will make the Greensboro Coliseum vaccination clinic a mega vaccine site.

Thousands have been vaccinated there in recent weeks and Campbell said all three county clinics could be expanded.

"They're working very well for us. Community members know where to go, how to get there and our staff works very well with them," Campbell said.

The county is also looking at adding up to six additional vaccination sites in the coming weeks.

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