Ten hours after the launch of Wake County’s new vaccine system, more than 30,000 people now have places on its COVID-19 vaccine wait list. As a result, more than 700 requesters received notifications today that they could schedule appointments, many conveniently picking their time slots for this week within minutes of getting the word.
At 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 19, the Wake County Public Health team opened a website portal and 24/7 vaccine hotline to allow health care workers and those 65 and older request vaccines. Those groups include an estimated 180,000 people in Wake County. While that large population temporarily overwhelmed the call center and online form in the opening hours of launching the system, by 10 a.m. roughly 4,000 had completed requests, and by 8 p.m. more than 30,000 had successfully completed requests (3,000 health care workers eligible in Group 1 and more than 27,000 people 65+ in Group 2).
Wake County leaders want to reiterate that this is an appointment ONLY process, deliberately aimed at vaccinating those at highest risk of hospitalization and death while supplies are limited. In the first activation for appointments today, those who are 75+ and live in the zip codes with the highest positivity rates were notified to make an appointment. The process does not prioritize based on individual health risks, but on larger community-based risks. Some Wake County zip codes are reporting an alarming 18% COVID-19 positivity rate. In Wake County, those 75 and older make up 68% of the deaths from COVID-19.
Today 322 people who had scheduled appointments made last week were vaccinated. Tomorrow 422 more people will be vaccinated. Appointments for the rest of the week are now full through Saturday.
Please note, there were 10 people who showed up without appointments today. Staff, in their excitement to vaccinate eligible Group 2 members, saw open slots due to missed appointments and vaccinated a small handful of people against protocol. With the waiting list now full and appointments this week booked, there is a renewed focus by Wake County’s vaccination staff to stick to protocols. Walk-ups will have to be turned away going forward.
We remind the public that the vaccination form at WakeGov.com/vaccine and the hotline 919-250-1515 are working 24 hours, seven days a week and will continue to be available for requests. Look for information about a new second site for vaccinations to open up next week which will raise Wake County’s ability to accommodate 2,800 vaccinations a week to almost 7,000.