Polk County’s vaccine coalition is expanding vaccine clinics in preparation for new phases of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
“In week one of our distribution, which started Dec. 22, our partnership distributed 265 vaccines in 6 days to our healthcare workforce and several of our long-term care facilities that are not serviced by federal contractors,” Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Director Joshua Kennedy said. “We anticipate dispensing several hundred more over the next week through our mass vaccination clinics. Further, we are now scheduling dose 2 clinics later in January. While this is a daunting task for the team we are filled with hope and joy as we begin to move through what we are calling the last mile.”
In October 2020, Polk County Health and Human Services Agency (Polk HHSA) and St. Luke’s Hospital began coordinating vaccine efforts with a larger set of partners from Polk County including Blue Ridge Health, Polk County Schools, Foothills Pharmacy, Columbus Medical, White Oak Manor, Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and Polk County Government partners including EMS, Emergency Management and the Sheriff’s Office.
“Our focus will be shifting from our weekly mass drive-thru testing sites, to mass vaccination sites so we can begin to curb and prevent future spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19),” Kennedy said. “It is even more imperative now to move as efficiently as possible through the phases as we are seeing an alarming increase in cases and significant impacts to our healthcare infrastructure regionally. We need everyone to do their part over the next several weeks to curb these increases by continuing the 3 W’s, avoid large gatherings with folks outside your immediate household, and now seek out access to the vaccine if you are eligible.
“We now have the tools at hand to not only reduce cases, but stop cases. We have added additional volunteers to our team who are assisting in reaching out to community members about vaccine distribution and COVID-19 questions,” he said. “While we are cautious to not overpromise and we ask for patience as our phone line has been inundated with inquiries, we do promise to make every effort to support an efficient delivery of the vaccine.”
Polk County community members interested in scheduling an appointment when their Distribution Phase is open are encouraged to visit the county’s COVID-19 information page at www.polknc.org or by calling the COVID-19 message line at (828) 722-5086. As the various phases open to the public, Polk HHSA will connect community members with vaccine access sites.
Community members are at greater risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 when mixing households and congregating for periods of time greater than 15 minutes. Polk HHSA encourages the use of the 3 W’s to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Follow the three W’s:
• Wait 6 feet apart,
• Wear a face covering when in public spaces, and
• Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer.
If you have any questions at this time or any time during the vaccine distribution period,
please contact Polk County Health and Human Services Agency via their message line at