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Macon County health director says vaccines not being diverted from county 

Last updated on January 27, 2021

When the state of North Carolina announced large scale vaccination clinics in urban cities across the state, speculation began that vaccines were being diverted from rural counties of the state — causing appointments to be canceled or delayed. 

While that may be the case in some parts of the state, according to Macon County Board of Health Director Kathy McGaha, that is not the case for Macon County. 

The Macon County Department of Public Health has been getting on average 200 vaccines per week. On Monday afternoon, the department reported that a total of 2,178 vaccines have been administered in the county, including 480 that were administered off-site at a vaccination clinic in Highlands over the weekend. As of Monday, the health department has 120 vaccines on hand. 

McGaha said that Macon County continues to receive about 200 vaccines per week from the state — however, they had anticipated that number to soon be increasing, however that is no longer the case. 

“We are still getting 200 per week; however, we had anticipated receiving more,” said McGaha. “This did not happen due to the diversion.”

Even though the health department has expanded its vaccination distribution schedule, demand remains higher than inventory. All appointments for vaccinations are currently full and there is now a waitlist. 

Vaccination clinics are being held Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 4:00pm. Due to vaccine allocations not meeting the current demand, Macon County Public Health has begun a waitlist system for individuals who register or need to schedule appointments from January 25, 2021 forward. Appointment slots will be established based on vaccine supply. As vaccine becomes available individuals on the waitlist will be contacted with their appointment date and time.

Beginning today, Tuesday, January 25, 2021, individuals who need to register or schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination should call 828-524-1500. The Call Center is operating Monday through Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm.

Macon County is currently vaccinating individuals’ eligible for Group 1 (Health Care Workers with in-person Patient Contact) and Group 2 (Individuals age 65 and over). Those who are eligible under either of these groups who have not registered or need to schedule an appointment should call 828-524-1500.

Macon County Public Health is providing testing and vaccination clinics through a drive-thru clinic at 1830 Lakeside Drive in Franklin and, an appointment is required. At this time, there is no plan to provide an alternate vaccination location or site other than at the health department, although staff is continually working on ways to expand current capacity and streamlining the scheduling process.

Macon County currently provides the Modern Vaccination. For those interested in receiving the Pfizer vaccine instead, McGaha said they can call the COVID-19 Line 1-877-490-6642, to find out where Pfizer vaccine is available.

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