COVID-19 vaccine wait list from Wake County isn’t first come, first served.

A CDC illustration of the novel coronavirus

Updated Jan. 20: The Wake County vaccination appointment system began Tuesday, and more people sought appointments than the call center and website could handle.

More than 30,000 on the waitlist in the first day: At the end of the first 10 hours, the county says more than 30,000 people are now on the waitlist.

Compared to the population of 65+… There are more than 120,000 people 65 and older, according to 2019 American Community Survey Census estimates, to get an idea of how many people that is compared to the overall population in Wake County.

When you sign up matters less: If you are seeking a COVID-19 vaccine through the county and couldn’t get through yesterday, know that will not be first come, first served.

“Priority for vaccine appointments will be determined by factors like age and risk of contracting the virus – not the order in which someone joins the waiting list,” the county site says. 

First in line, the county said Tuesday, is those 75 and older who live in ZIP codes with high percentages of positive cases compared to the overall population.

And, prepare to wait. Based on the limited supply, it could be several weeks or months before those eligible now (adults 65 and older) are contacted for an appointment.

How to sign up for the waitlist: Use this form and 24-hour hotline (919-250-1515). [more info]

Some people received vaccines Tuesday without an appointment, the county said, but that was because some staff went “against protocol” when there were open slots because of missed appointments. Appointments are required.

State changes phases

For the third time, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan has changed for North Carolina residents.

On Jan. 14, NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen announced people 65 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the current phase (earlier referred to as Phase 1b). The change came after new federal vaccine guidance, WRAL has more background.

The phases are more streamlined, though removing college students and children 16 and older from the plan WUNC reports.

Here are the new phases:

State infographic.

Hospital systems providing COVID-19 vaccines to those 65+

For now, hospitals and county health departments largely hold the limited number of vaccines.

The only other vaccines currently being administered are for nursing homes and assisted living facility residents and staff. The federal government is coordinating the distribution of those vaccines with pharmacies.

All of the three local hospital systems currently offering COVID-19 vaccines have updated their availability to 65 and older. When Wake County Public Health launches its wait list Tuesday, it will be for 65+ as well, the county shared in a press release.

COVID-19 vaccinations began for those 75 and older in the area by local hospital systems between Jan. 6-11.

However, vaccines are still limited, and so are appointments for those in the current phase.

More resources:

  • Wake County Health vaccine site
  • Duke Health: began offering vaccinations to Phase 1b, group 1 people on Jan. 6, but only at its Duke University location in Durham. Duke Health also has a hospital in Raleigh, but they’re not yet offering COVID-19 vaccinations in Raleigh, just at Duke University. You may also call the Duke COVID-19 hotline at 919-385-0429 to make an appointment between 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily or access their waitlist on their website.
  • UNC Health: Began vaccinating older adults 75+ on Jan. 11, will now offer to those 65+, offer online appointments on their site.
  • WakeMed: WakeMed will also be scheduling drive-through vaccination clinics at WakeMed Raleigh Medical Park on Sundays in the future, by appointment only. See more info here.

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The vaccine will be free.

The COVID-19 vaccines will be available free of charge and don’t require that you have insurance or be a U.S. citizen.

READ MORE: What to know about COVID-19 in Wake County now

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Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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