Out of doses: Seniors turned away from COVID-19 vaccine clinic for 75 and older
Posted January 12, 2021 5:04 a.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2021 1:30 p.m. EST
Benson, N.C. — Hundreds of senior citizens waited in the dark on Tuesday morning for a drive-thru coronavirus vaccine clinic in Johnston County. Some were in line at midnight, 10 hours before the event was to begin.
Thirty minutes before the clinic opened at West Johnston High School in Benson, some seniors were turned away when capacity was reached for the 500 doses available.
The clinic was operated on a first-come, first-served basis for people ages 75 or older. Although supplies were expected to run out quickly, the drive-thru style kept senior citizens inside their cars and out of the rain during the long wait.
Louise Davis was one of the senior citizens in line before 5 a.m.
"I thought about it on the way out here. I’m very thankful that we have it. I’m glad that we can get here in time to get it today, but it’s almost surreal," Davis said.
Faye Johnson said it feels "crazy" to be in line for the vaccine, "but I’ve got a big family of children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, and I want to be around as long as I can to be with my family."
A third person waiting, Shelton Davis, said, “I’m trying to take care of myself. This seems like a pretty good way to do it.”
The Johnston County Health Department said additional drive-thru clinics, as well as vaccinations by appointment, will be offered as the vaccine becomes more available.
Any remaining individuals who qualify for the vaccine under Phase 1A – health care workers dealing with COVID-19 patients and staff of long-term care facilities – were also eligible to get shots during the drive-thru clinic.
Johnston County residents can register to receive alerts and updates on vaccination clinics and testing on their phones by texting COVIDJOCO to 888777.
Other counties are also vaccinating health care workers and seniors 75 and older on Tuesday.
In Granville County, an appointment-only vaccine clinic began at 10 a.m. at Granville Primary Care & OB/GYN in Oxford. Officials said the 80 appointments available were all booked quickly.