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'Disappointing and inefficient' | Triad hospitals expecting low vaccine portions

Triad hospitals said they do not have enough doses to vaccinate people but the state said there are not enough doses to go around.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Triad hospitals are prepared to vaccinate people by the thousands but they do not have the doses to do it.

Cone Health is rescheduling 10,000 appointments after the state told the health system they will not receive any vaccines next week.

The problem extends beyond Cone Health.

"Our vaccine allotment this week will be flat at 5,575 doses. That number is disappointing and inefficient to serve the patients and the communities that we serve," Novant Health Infectious Disease Expert Dr. David Priest said.

Novant Health said in a Friday media briefing that they are prepared to vaccinate 94,000 people a week. 

The problem is, they do not have enough vaccines to do it or a clear answer as to why.

Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen heard from Novant Health and other health systems about the lack of vaccines on a call Friday.

Afterward, Novant Health spokesperson Megan Rivers provided WFMY News 2 the following statement about the call:

"We did speak with Governor Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. Several health systems expressed their concerns over the lack of a transparent, predictable and equitable distribution of vaccine. Governor Cooper acknowledged the problem, but no solutions were offered nor was there a commitment that a solution would be forthcoming. We want to be clear, Novant Health supports all healthcare systems and their mass vaccination strategies. We simply want to provide our patients access to these vaccines, which equal hope for the communities we serve.  For many, it is their last hope.  The hope to see their grandchildren again, go to church, or escape the loneliness and isolation that goes hand-in-hand with this pandemic.  Our state deserves a distribution process that is number 1 not number 38 - and the health systems can make that happen if we are given the opportunity," Rivers said.

WFMY News 2 reached out to NCDHHS and asked how vaccine portions are determined.

Spokesperson Sarah Lewis Peel did not answer that question. She did explain why allotments at several health systems are so low.

The state had previously asked health systems to use up remaining first dose vaccine supplies because it expects changes in the way the federal government will allocate future vaccine supplies.

"For the coming vaccine week beginning 1/27 we only have a 120,000 dose allocation to administer. A large portion of those doses are committed to the large-scale events planned to address the backlog. As a result, many providers are getting small allocations or zero allocations for the week of 1/27. We know this is causing pain among providers who did an incredible job working to vaccinate residents quickly," Peel said, "As long as we are getting such a small amount of vaccine as a state, there are going to be challenges and shortages as we try to ensure equitable access to vaccine, while getting shots into arms quickly. We understand this is hard for providers who are doing everything right."

WFMY News 2 also reached out to Governor Roy Cooper's Office and asked whether he will request more vaccines from the federal government. We are still waiting for a response.

Novant Health said it will not cancel vaccine appointments even though its allocation is lower than it hoped for.

Novant only makes appointments once it knows how many doses it'll get in the next shipment.

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