GREENSBORO, N.C. — The rush to vaccinate people is getting better but Triad health officials said there's still work to do.
Nearly 2,000 people a day are being vaccinated in Guilford County and there are still many others waiting to get vaccinated.
County officials said it could take weeks to vaccinate people 65 and up before moving on to the next phase of vaccinations.
Guilford County opened new vaccine appointments Wednesday morning. Emergency Management Director Don Campbell said online appointment slots were gone within 30 minutes. Over the phone appointments were filled by noon.
The county said in a press conference Wednesday that it has a new way for people to get information about appointments.
"You can text GC19 to 888-777 and you can opt in to receive additional information about the COVID-19 vaccines when appointments become available," Public Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann said.
Most vaccine patients will go to the Greensboro Coliseum for their vaccines. It's the newest and largest vaccination site in the county.
Campbell said county health care workers vaccinated 1,000 people there in the first day and staff were on track to give a similar number of people their shots Wednesday.
The Greensboro Coliseum vaccine clinic is also used by Cone Health, which vaccinated an additional 1,000 people Tuesday. Cone Health increased its clinic hours Wednesday.
Campbell said their hours will stay the same but there will be some other changes to make things move more smoothly in the county's clinic.
"We reorganized how the line works inside of the building to make sure that that line continues to move. We also added some additional vaccination stations and registration stations and waiting stations," Campbell said.
County officials noticed people were showing up early for their appointments Tuesday. Campell asked people to show up on time for their appointments going forward because he said early patients were creating some congestion in the waiting areas.
Campbell said wait times prior to receiving the vaccine were around 45 minutes in the Guilford County clinic Tuesday but most people were patient.
"There were many tears of joy for individuals who were getting their vaccinations and we really had few comments about having to wait in line with the understanding that we're really trying to get as many people through there," Campbell said.
The county will also start giving second doses to healthcare workers next week. Those will be given at Bur Mill Park to prevent congestion at other clinics.
Many counties in the Triad do not have facilities like the Greensboro Coliseum that they can use to vaccinate people in large numbers so other public health officials are still making adjustments.
Rockingham County will open a by-appointment-only drive through clinic Thursday at their health department. Health Director Trey Wright said they are looking at expanding to more sites to keep up with demand.
"We are working with our hospitals about doing 7 days a week and making sure we can get it out as quickly as we can," Wright said.
The Alamance County Health Department said the Burlington Royals Stadium will be used for second appointments starting January 25.