Guilford County has been cut off from an expected state allocation of COVID-19 vaccination doses, leaving many in the county with no vaccine but with a lot of questions.

A Saturday, Jan. 23 email from Guilford County Manager Michael Halford to the Guilford County commissioners sheds some light on the situation and has a warning.

“[U]nless the supply of vaccine to the state is increased significantly,” stated Halford. “we will not be able to vaccinate as many people per week as we have done this past week.”

His email states, “We were receiving vaccine shipments as we were starting to scale up our appointments, so we had an inventory of vaccine at the time we were able to get the clinics going. You can see this in the new vaccine/vaccinations dashboard that is now part of the evening situation reports. This meant we could vaccinate upwards of 2,000 people per day at times last week. After this coming week’s appointments and the limited supply of new doses, our first dose inventory will be minimal and future appointments will have to be scaled back to reflect vaccine allocations as they become available.”

Halford informed the board that he hadn’t heard from NC Governor Roy Cooper’s office as of Saturday morning, but he added that he and other county staff had spoken with people throughout state government – as well as with state legislators who represent the county. Halford wrote that he believes the county’s coming allocation – or, really, the lack of it – is tied to the state’s attempt to reduce the overall vaccine inventory in an effort to ensure that North Carolina is a high priority for future vaccine allotments from the federal government.

According to Halford, the state is operating on the fear that the federal government may reduce vaccine allocations to states that still have larger vaccine supplies on hand.

According to Halford’s email, many doses of the state’s current supply were going to the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Hospital Authority. He added that it was likely that only nine local health departments will receive first doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week, and, of those, only two will get more than 1,000 doses.

In addition, 58 counties will receive first doses of the Moderna vaccine, the county manager stated in his email to the board. The average allocation of that vaccine will be about 500, – roughly what Guilford expected to receive of the Moderna vaccine.

Those numbers mean that Guilford County could continue giving out vaccines – but at a snail’s pace compared to what the county has been hoping for.

Halford’s email stated that this isn’t the position the county expected or hoped to be in right now – but he and others were working with area health systems to advocate for a larger supply of vaccine for Guilford County.