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County administers 800 COVID-19 vaccines as those 65 and older become eligible

SALISBURY — Cars wrapped around the block and beyond to get the county’s latest distribution of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday morning.

The vaccines were available to people 65 and over. People showed up early and waited hours to get their first dose.

Jackie and Chris Crane got in line at 5:45 a.m. and received vaccinations at about 10 a.m.

Chris said they wanted to show up early because they did not know how many vaccines the county had to distribute. Chris said the couple has been staying home since March. He lost his sister to COVID-19.

Jackie said there is only so much the county can do to distribute the vaccines. It had 800 doses of the Moderna vaccine to administer on Wednesday. The clinic started at 9:30 a.m. and had allocated all 800 doses just after noon.

Karen and Jerry File showed up early, too. They brought food, expecting to wait hours in line. Jerry already received at the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center already. Karen said it was “an experience.”

“We don’t have nothing else to do,” Karen said, adding they still need to protect themselves even though they have both received the first dose

The vaccine schedule recommends getting two doses of the Moderna vaccine about a month apart for full inoculation.

Mary Devlin also arrived before 6 a.m. and waited more than four hours in line, but it was not as bad as she expected, going in prepared to wait seven hours for the dose. Devlin said she is a high-risk patient and it was worth the wait. For the most part, she’s been isolating at home.

The doses were administered with the help of volunteers, including Rowan-Salisbury Schools nurse Salena Poston, who serves Koontz and Faith elementary schools. Poston said she wanted to help slow down the pandemic and get the community on the right track. She hopes vaccination signals the eventual end of the pandemic.

“Amen,” Poston said.

She said it is a privilege to administer the vaccines and plans to volunteer for more events.

Carl Blankenship/Salisbury Post – There were more lines added to this vaccine distribution.

After people were given the injections, they pulled forward for an observation period. Observing someone after receiving a vaccination is standard practice to ensure someone can be treated if they have an adverse reaction.

Amy Smith, public health education specialist with Rowan County Health Department, said the county can reach more people by holding mass clinics even though the lines are not the most convenient delivery for people receiving the vaccines.

When vaccines are delivered, Smith said, varies week-to-week. Sometimes, the department does not know the day. The department has asked the state to send surplus vaccines to Rowan County.

Smith said the department has shifted almost all of its regular programs to COVID-19. It has a list of volunteers including pharmacists and nurse practitioners it can use as it gets more vaccines.

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