WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Forsyth County Department of Public Health filled 250 COVID-19 vaccination appointments Tuesday after people didn’t show up for scheduled appointments throughout the week.
“That causes a problem because each day, we make plans of how much vaccine to have prepared based on the number of appointments,” Public Health Director Joshua Swift said. “So the way we can do our appointments is there in advance. And that’s how we decide how to make our preparations for staffing for the amount of vaccine supplies.”
Swift said health officials only have a certain period of time before they have to throw vaccine away.
“The state gives us seven days from the time we receive our vaccine to use it. So we’re wanting to make sure we use that up and there’s been a big push over the last week for all health departments, make sure they get through any first dose allocations,” he said.
“It’s unreal, why would you make an appointment and not show? I can’t imagine,” said Sarah Malone, who was able to schedule a last-minute appointment in Forsyth County Tuesday.
Another patient, Jerry Riffey, told FOX8 she spent hours trying to get another appointment Monday after her Guilford County appointment was canceled due to low supply.
“When I got on this morning and got an appointment that had opened up I was just amazed and very happy, very happy,” she said while in line.
During an update Tuesday, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is not currently tracking no-shows.
“It is exactly why we want to make sure folks have a waitlist on hand from that priority group, so if they do have no-shows and they do have extra vaccine appointments at the end of the day, we don’t want them wasting,” she said.
Swift urges people to make a single appointment and says the county has only had to throw away a small amount of vaccine.
“We’ve had a very small number of doses. Some have been actually a few where a syringe was dropped and there were a few where we had some no-shows and we weren’t able to get that out, but it’s been very minuscule,” he said.