State Near Bottom on Distributing COVID Vaccine - TribPapers

State Near Bottom on Distributing COVID Vaccine

Lawmakers are wondering why state slow in distributing vaccine.

Western North Carolina – Locals wondering when it will be their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine might be in for a wait as the Cooper Administration seems to be on a slow rollout of the vaccine. 

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, North Carolina has used just 25.8% of the doses it has received from the federal government, which ranks 48th in the country.

Slow Rollout

State lawmakers have pressed “the Cooper Administration for answers on North Carolina’s near-last-in-the-nation ranking on vaccine distribution. The hearing took place amid reports from Politico Health that future vaccine allocations from the federal government may be based on states’ performance thus far in getting vaccines into arms,” said a release from NC General Assembly Senator Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth).

According to the Bloomberg website, as of January 16, the state had received 3.11 doses per 100 people, with 326,000 receiving the first vaccine and 44,000 receiving their second. 

First Round of Vaccinations

According to a release from the NC Department of Health & Human Services Department (NCDHHS) on January 14, “The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced…that vaccine providers that are ready to expand may vaccinate all health care workers and anyone 65 years and older.”

Still, Krawiec’s release indicated that Cooper’s administration should have learned from other disasters how to handle these types of emergencies. “In 2019, months before the pandemic began, the Cooper Administration’s Director of Emergency Management said publicly, ‘We have learned from experience that many local governments lack the staff expertise and capacity to administer [disaster relief].’

“Yet the administration did not apply that lesson to its vaccine distribution plan, which relies almost entirely on counties,” she added in the release.

Lagging on Distributing

According to Krawiec, “Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen told lawmakers that some counties are performing well while others are lagging and that the proper time to critique crisis management is not during the crisis.”

“The administration had ten months to draft and refine a plan to distribute a vaccine that everybody in the world knew was in development, but they didn’t even effectively plan for something as simple as what to do when too many people call asking to schedule their vaccination. The status quo is completely unacceptable, and the failure of the county-centric model was known before planning even began,” said Krawiec, who chaired the hearing on who was causing the delay in the distribution of the vaccine.

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