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COVID-19 vaccinations postponed for 10,400 at Cone Health after state says it can't provide the first-dose vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccinations postponed for 10,400 at Cone Health after state says it can't provide the first-dose vaccinations

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GREENSBORO — Cone Health will reschedule COVID-19 vaccinations for 10,400 people after North Carolina said it will not supply first-dose vaccines next week to Cone Health, according to a news release from Cone.

People with appointments through Monday, Jan. 25, will receive their vaccinations as planned, Cone Health said. These are vaccinations scheduled to be given by Cone Health at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center.

Those whose vaccination appointments are rescheduled will be placed at the top of the Cone Health vaccination waiting list and notified when their appointments can be fulfilled, Cone said in the release. People with appointments to receive a second dose will receive the vaccine as planned.

“We are deeply disappointed that we are forced to delay these essential vaccinations,” Cone Health CEO Terry Akin said. “In order to maintain an aggressive vaccination strategy, we need predictability and regular vaccine shipments from the state as originally promised. I am very unhappy that the state appears to keep changing the rules for vaccination allocation.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in an email said the state has simply worked with providers to exhaust its supplies so that it can get future allocations from the federal government.

"This week, in response to indications that the federal government might base future allocations on the supply states have on hand, our state and providers worked to rapidly administer vaccinations and exhaust North Carolina’s current supply," the email from NCDHHS said.

"For the coming vaccine week beginning 1/27 we only have a 120,000 dose allocation to administer," NCDHHS said. "A large portion of those doses are committed to the large-scale events planned to address the backlog. As a result, many providers are getting small allocations or zero allocations for the week of 1/27. We know this is causing pain among providers who did an incredible job working to vaccinate residents quickly."

The state's email continued: "As long as we are getting such a small amount of vaccine as a state, there are going to be challenges and shortages as we try to ensure equitable access to vaccine, while getting shots into arms quickly. We understand this is hard for providers who are doing everything right.

"We will make every effort to bring additional supplies into the state and appreciate the effort of providers to exhaust each week’s shipment quickly until supplies increase," NCDHHS said.

In its release, Cone Health said NCDHHS "called for all first-dose vaccines to be given by Jan. 25. Cone Health is on track to do exactly that through its major ramp up efforts, including at the Greensboro Coliseum, mobile vaccinations and in partnership with numerous churches and other community-based organizations across our multiple county area.

"The state assured Cone Health and other health systems that if the Jan. 25 goal was met, future vaccine shipments would be adequate to cover the following week’s scheduled appointments," the statement said.

"Completely contrary to the state’s prior commitment, we were shocked to find out late last night that Cone Health’s allocation for next week is zero,” Akin said in the release.

"As a result of the undependability of the vaccine pipeline from the state, Cone Health will no longer schedule vaccinations until vaccine is on hand. Regrettably, until further notice, this will cause uncertainty and longer waits for vaccination appointments. We deeply apologize to our communities for this development," Cone said in the statement.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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