It’s no secret that Guilford County and Cone Health have felt abandoned recently by the state when it comes to supplies of COVID-19 vaccine.
Now, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston is attempting to get some action.
In a Thursday, Jan. 28 letter to NC Governor Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, Alston expressed his concerns and requested thousands of additional doses for the county and Cone Health.
Last week, thousands of people in the Charlotte area got vaccinated at large scale events while Cone Health was simultaneously cancelling appointments because the state wasn’t making good on commitments to Guilford County and its health providers. Commissioner Justin Conrad was so adamant about the unfairness of the situation that he sent a public records request to the state demanding records regarding what had happened.
Alston’s letter this week was an attempt to get the state to make things right.
“Thank you for your tireless efforts and advocacy for the State of North Carolina,” Alston began. “As you know, over the past few weeks Guilford County has been working to ensure that we have equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Your receptiveness to the concerns raised due to changes in the delivery models for January 15 and January 22 have been much appreciated.”
Alston wrote that Guilford County is now asking –based on population size, the rate of community spread and other factors – that the Guilford County Public Health Division be provided a minimum of 5,000 doses per week for the next three weeks.
Alston also requested doses for Cone Health, pointing out that the health care provider had recently been forced to cancel 10,400 appointments because of unexpected changes in the state’s supply practices.
Alston requested that Cone be provided an additional 5,000 doses in order to help handle some of their backlog.
He suggested that the doses could come from expected additional doses the federal government is allocating to North Carolina.
Other reasons listed why Guilford County and Cone should be at the front of the line included the fact that the county is centrally located in the state and is a place many people pass through.
The chairman also requested in the letter that Guilford County be the place where the next state-sponsored mega vaccination event is held.
“Guilford County has already established not one, but three mass vaccination clinics with room to expand at both our Greensboro Coliseum and High Point Mall locations,” he wrote.
The chairman concluded, “We stand ready and poised to be a long-term distribution portal for the vaccine on a much larger scale and look forward to working with the State to make this a reality.”