WRAL Investigates

With 450+ COVID-19 vaccine providers in NC, a careful calculus determines where shots are sent

Posted February 23, 2021 9:21 a.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2021 5:54 p.m. EST

— The availability of COVID-19 vaccines continues to grow across North Carolina. As the state gets more shots from the federal government and is able to allocate them to more providers, including county health departments, hospitals, pharmacies and others.

While the raw numbers are on the rise, the number of shots available at any one clinic varies widely based on a formula established by the Department of Health and Human Services that incorporates population, risk, age and more.

New data shows 2.3 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been administered through the state's enrolled providers, the 462 authorized locations who have gotten shots.

Providers by county

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Some of those are smaller pharmacies that are allocated just 100 shots.

Wake County has seen the number of vaccine providers jump from 11 to 27. In Durham County, the number of providers almost doubled, from six to 11.

Over the next three weeks (the weeks of February 22, March 3, March 10), the state is expecting to receive 200,120 new first doses from the federal government.

DHHS takes different factors into consideration when deciding how to allocate the shots. Of 171,250 weekly first doses, 151,150 allocated are based on county population, with 20,100 targeted to counties with higher numbers of unvaccinated adults who are over 65 years of age and from historically marginalized populations.

The other 28,870 shots are divvied up across counties, newly-enrolled vaccine providers, state facilities, long-term pharmacies not participating in the federal long-term care program and community vaccination events.

Many counties have seen big turnouts at vaccine clinics held at schools and event centers. Earlier this month, a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic at West Johnston High School reached capacity just 10 minutes after it opened.

Because of inclement weather last week, many providers will be receiving the allocations from last week in addition to their allocation for this week by Wednesday.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper noted that, while metrics for the state remain high, the latest update from the county alert system shows the lowest number of counties in the "critical/red" category since the system's inception.

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