Local News

Wake will distribute COVID vaccine based on risk and need, not first-come, first-served

Posted January 15, 2021 12:28 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2021 7:52 p.m. EST

— After watching long lines for at COVID-19 vaccination events across the state, Wake County on Friday outlined how eligible residents there can sign up for their shots.

As of Jan. 14, people in Phases 1 and 2 – health care workers and anyone 65 and over – are eligible to get the vaccine in North Carolina. The vaccine is being distributed by county health departments and some large hospital systems, with each having a different process.

In Wake County, registration will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 8:30 a.m., via phone or online, for those who are eligible.

“This is not a first-come, first-served process,” said Wake County Pharmacy Director Dr. Jason Wittes. “We determine the order of appointments based on risk and need, so people don’t have to worry about being the first person to call our phone line or visit our online tool at precisely 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.”

Alan Lovett, 65, is ready for his shot. "You have a choice," he said, "You can take your chance on getting COVID or take a chance on the vaccine and get back to some sense of normalcy."

Register for vaccination

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 19 (and not before), anyone can call the Wake County Public Health vaccination phone line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is 919-250-1515.

Callers will be asked about eligibility, whether they have a primary care physician and for their name, phone number and email address. They will then be added to the Wake County COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.

As the county gets doses, those on the waiting list will be notified via phone, email or text message, and they will then have the opportunity to schedule an appointment, either over the phone or online.

Coronavirus vaccinations in NC

Wake County vaccine online portal

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 19 (and not before), people can visit wakegov.com/vaccine to submit their personal information

Visitors will fill out information about vaccine eligibility, whether they have a primary care physician and provide some personal information, including name, phone number and email address. They will then be added to the Wake County COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.

As the county gets doses, those on the waiting list will be notified via phone, email or text message, and they will then have the opportunity to schedule an appointment, either over the phone or online.

Wittes estimated there are more than 200,000 people in the county eligible in Phase 1 and 2 – 50,000 health care workers and 133,000 seniors ages 65 and older. He expects about 2,300 of them to be able to get their first of two doses next week.

“We don’t want our seniors standing out in the cold, waiting for hours to get vaccinated against this dangerous virus,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria. “This new system will enable them to schedule an appointment when it’s their turn, so they’ll know exactly when and where to get their shot.”

As they get their first shots, people will also get a card with an appointment for the second dose – 21 days later for Pfizer and 28 days later for Moderna. The county health department will also send a reminder to each individual when their second dose is due.

Duke Raleigh, UNC Health, UNC Wakebrook and WakeMed Health and Hospitals are also administering vaccines.

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