Since Dec. 22, 2020, the Polk County Vaccine Coalition has distributed more than 15,000 combined first and second dose shots of COVID-19 vaccine. When vaccine distribution planning began in September and October of 2020, the Coalition wanted to make sure they could quickly identify those wanting the vaccine and match them to open appointment slots based on the state’s current phase of eligibility. The Coalition implemented phases because there was going to be more demand than the available vaccines.
Four months later, supply has caught up to demand and the coalition currently has unfilled appointments and more routine appointment options coming online. Other providers also are now available in the region. The Polk County Vaccine Community Interest Survey was needed in December 2020 but is now an additional step that is no longer needed.
“We continue to work as many networks as possible to sign community members up for an appointment,” Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Joshua Kennedy said. “However, at this time, all phases are open and we no longer need to triage the requests as we did in the beginning. We are also not seeing significant use of the interest survey in the past three weeks now that the vaccine is more readily available. Community members without access to the Internet can still call the message line to sign-up for an appointment or they can be signed-up by a family member.”
Effective Friday, April 16, the Polk County Vaccine Coalition will be closing the interest survey. Community members without access to the Internet and still needing an appointment can visit the Polk County Health and Human Services at PolkNC.org and continue to self-schedule or call the Polk County COVID-19 Message Line at (828) 722-5086.
“Our community and the Coalition have made great progress to date but we still need to increase the percentage of those vaccinated in Polk County,” St. Luke’s Hospital CEO Michelle Fortune said. “These vaccines are the most important tool we have to keep the variants from taking hold and keeping our community moving forward. You can crush COVID and save lives by getting vaccinated.”
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 Ws to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 – 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 anytime during the vaccine distribution period, please contact Polk County Health and Human Services Agency through the message line at (828) 722-5086.