By Kendall McGee | March 29, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT – Updated March 30 at 6:58 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – In a matter of days, any North Carolinian that wants a vaccine will be able to get one.
The state as a whole moves into serving all of group 4, including essential workers and people living in congregate settings like college students, this Wednesday.
The magic day the vaccine is rolled out to all is April 7, but many providers are going ahead and offering the shot now to any adult that wants it.
The providers jumping ahead of the state’s eligibility phases are largely located in rural areas. Bladen Hospital began offering shots to everyone last week and Columbus County and Pender County health departments announced Monday they were following suit, accepting appointments for anyone over the age of 18.
Leaders say the decision has ultimately come down to a decrease in demand.
Pender Health and Bladen Hospital say the goal is to just get the vaccine to as many people as possible and they’re pleased to open the appointments up to everyone.
Officials at Bladen Hospital say even after opening appointments to everyone, they’re still not seeing a dramatic surge in people making appointments.
“We made that decision last week just to go ahead and open it up to anyone who wants to get it, and we’re still not seeing our appointments completely booked up until the day of giving the vaccine,” said Bladen Hospital president Stephen Fife.
Leaders also report a good chunk of their traffic comes from across county lines. Bladen Hospital reports 60 percent of the people they’re giving shots to live in Bladen County, however the 40 percent of their patients come from surrounding counties.
Fife says more types of vaccine and more places to get them are big reasons why they’re seeing appointments fill up slower these days.
“Now that the Johnson and Johnson is available, I think folks are starting to shop for vaccines. They’re also making appointments at multiple sites, you know, just trying to find anywhere that they can get a vaccine, and since we’ve opened up to all the groups, I think folks have come here and abandoned other appointments at other sites. I think that it’s something a lot of hospitals are seeing,” said Fife.
When it comes to making your appointment, each county has a different way to dole out their open slots for first doses.
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