By Kendall McGee | February 1, 2021 at 1:52 PM EST – Updated February 1 at 7:34 PM
BOLIVIA, N.C. (WECT) – The Brunswick County Chairman of the board of commissioners is taking concerns to state health leaders again about the low number of vaccine doses expected to come to Brunswick County providers in the coming weeks.
According to a letter sent Sunday by chairman Randy Thompson, Brunswick County was notified it would receive a minimum of 1,275 first doses of the vaccine in each of the next three weeks.
The new allocations are well below the 1,700 doses they’ve received on average in past weeks.
In the letter, Thompson explains they would need at least 2,250 first doses a week among Brunswick County Health Services, Novant Health and Dosher Memorial Hospital to sustain their current schedules and meet the demand. With the current allocation, health professionals could be forced to reschedule 2,400 appointments for first doses currently scheduled in the second and third weeks of February.
“We continue to stress how much we want to work with the State and will still distribute the vaccine supplies we do receive as quickly as possible. However, if Brunswick County continues to receive unrealistic vaccine allocations for the population make-up we have, we fear we will be too far behind to adequately address even more eligible individuals when the time does come for the State to announce the transition to the next group,” wrote Thompson in his letter to DHHS leaders.
This isn’t the first time the chairman has sent letters to state leaders. The first time he reached out to DHHS officials was back on Jan. 8. State officials have heard his concerns and answered him in the past.
In a Jan. 27 letter, Secretary Mandy Cohen said they expect the numbers of doses coming into the state will still remain below providers’ capacity, but also assured them that going forward, more vaccine would be sent to areas with a higher concentration of seniors and counties with larger historically marginalized populations.
“Brunswick County has arguably the highest senior population in the state relative to total population at 32.6 percent. Most other counties in the state with a higher percentage of seniors have a total population ranging from 10,000 to 35,000; Brunswick County’s total population is 143,000—making us a unique outlier,” Thompson wrote in the latest letter.
Mayors for each of the 19 municipalities in Brunswick County are also joining regional and state leaders in the fight for more doses. Together the group of leaders has made calls and sent numerous letters to DHHS.
“When you’re scheduled to get a shot next week, say, and you find out it’s postponed…even if it’s postponed a week…that produces angst, understandably, for the affected citizens and we’re trying to mitigate that as much as possible,” said Shallotte Mayor Walter Eccard. “We just simply, respectfully suggest that because of the unique nature of our population, we’re one of the groups that are undeserved and need recognition…and that’s what we’re trying to communicate.”
While Thompson says the possibility of the county getting additional doses from the state is high, county leaders are working now on a notification plan if the county doesn’t get more vaccine from the state.
If the county is unable secure more doses, staff will begin notifying patients of any changes to their appointment time by the end of this week.
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