WARRENTON — Joining other care providers in the area, Warren County’s health department this week will begin vaccinating anyone who’s 65 and up against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Because supplies of the vaccines are tight, people wanting the first of two shots will need to make an appointment to receive it. The number to call for an appointment is 252-257-1185.
The Warren County Health Department had already been immunizing people in what’s now called the “Group 1” population, namely health care workers and the staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term facilities.
People 65 and up are in what’s now called the “Group 2” cohort, in keeping with a revision of the vaccination plan state officials announced last week in hopes of speeding the process along.
County Health Director Margaret Brake and her staff noted that vaccinations for Groups 3 through 5 have not yet begun, and said they will “inform the public as soon as the scheduling for these groups is started.
Group 3 is frontline essential workers, Group 4 is people age 16 through 64 who are are at high risk for exposure and increased risk for a severe case of COVID-19, and Group 5 is everyone else.
Meanwhile, the vaccination program in Vance and Granville counties continues.
Granville-Vance Public Health Director Lisa Harrison said her organization expects to administer “more than 1,000” vaccines this week, as demand continues to outpace the available supply.
The Granville-Vance health department received more than 3,700 calls to its vaccine hotline, 252-295-1503, on Friday alone, Harrison said.
“It’s important for people to understand that we receive shipments of vaccine weekly from the state, and the amount [received] may vary,” Harrison said. “We have to be careful to schedule appointments and register people in the Covid Vaccine Management System so we are sure to have a vaccine for each person.”
The Granville-Vance department has eight to 10 people answering calls on its hotline at any given time, “and there is still an average of a 30-minute wait,” Harrison said. “There is tremendous demand. We will do all we can and it’s helpful when people are patient and have confidence we will get to them.”
Area hospitals have their own supplies of the vaccine and also have been giving the shots.
One of them, the Granville Health System, administered about 2,500 vaccines over the weekend, GHS spokeswoman Shields Blackwell said.
The Oxford hospital has more than 1,000 additional appointment slots this week, and as of late Monday afternoon “every appointment is booked,” Blackwell said.
For now, GHS isn’t planning to reopen appointments this week. Blackwell said people should keep an eye on its web page, https://www.ghshospital.org/patients-visitors/ghs-covid -19-vaccine, and social-media accounts.
Contact Ray Gronberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 252-436-2850.