UNC Health said in an internal email obtained by Eyewitness News that they acquired 725 COVID-19 vaccines — originally meant for the Orange County Health Department — Thursday night that “must be” used by Monday morning.
It’s unclear why the health department handed them over to UNC.
When emailed, the Orange County Health Department sent the same email forwarded to ABC11 by UNC Health that reads:
“UNC Health was notified that Orange County had a number of vaccine vials available for immediate use.
UNC Health worked closely with Orange County to ensure that all of the vaccines would be used with zero waste and that all of these shots would go to either Phase 1-A personnel or staff who work with COVID-19 patients in some capacity.
This cooperation was a success, and all of the available stock was used appropriately.”
UNC has set up additional times this weekend to get as many Phase 1-A personnel staff (health care workers fighting COVID-19 & long-term care staff and residents) vaccinated between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
State health officials have asked for time in the complex rollout process: some hospitals only got shipments of the vaccine two weeks ago, local health departments got theirs last week.
In the past week, Orange County Health was slated to receive 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“These are the same health departments and same hospitals strained with the most number of COVID patients they’ve seen throughout this pandemic and we appreciate everyone’s patience,” said Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
ABC News reported this week that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout was moving slower than expected this month, stoking fears that the federal government was mishandling the effort and that would have to wait months longer than expected to get their shot.
Public health officials warned the bigger test will come in the year of 2021 when inventory finally expands and the broader public raises their hands for a shot.
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