LEDGER — The COVID-19 vaccine continues to rollout in Mitchell County.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Jan. 10, Toe River Health District Director Diane Creek provided a short update regarding the vaccine and how they are planning to administer it to the community.
Creek said the Mitchell County Health Department is currently working to vaccinate people in groups 1A and 1B.
“Once we vaccinate the majority of group 1b1 (those who are 75 years old or older, regardless of health condition) then we will move on to group 1b2,” she said in the post. “We can’t predict when the vaccine will be available to group 2, 3 and 4.”
As defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, group 1A includes healthcare workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19, healthcare workers administering the vaccine and long-term care staff and residents.
Group 1B has three subgroups, the first of which includes anyone 75 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation. The second subgroup is healthcare workers and frontline essential workers 50 years or older and the third subgroup is healthcare workers and frontline essential workers of any age.
Groups two, three and four includes adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness not included in the other groups, students and everyone else who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
The health department received 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine in late December and Creek said they have not seen a shortage of the vaccine yet.
“So far we have not experienced any shortage of vaccine,” she said. “We continue to get regular shipments of vaccine so we don’t think there is any reason to think anyone who wants a shot won’t be able to get one.”
The Moderna vaccine, which requires two shots 28 days apart, comes in vials which contain 10 doses each.
When it comes to administering the vaccine, Creek said they are working with “community partners” to provide mass vaccination clinics in the community.
The health department has announced its first pop-up vaccine clinic, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 14. Look for more details on page five.
The health department has not reported the number of active COVID-19 cases since Dec. 30, but reported two additional COVID-related deaths in the county on Jan. 5, upping the death total to 23.
Creek said they have been less active on Facebook and reporting the number of COVID cases in the county because they have been busy organizing the thousands of inquiries people have made about receiving the vaccine.
“One reason we’ve been quiet on Facebook is because we’ve been working after hours on our spreadsheet that has over 4,200 entries on it to get it organized, so we can contact the people in group 1b1,” she said. “The more organized we are, the faster we can move through the groups so we can get everyone vaccinated who wants one. Thank you for your patience.”