Everyone knows the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and, for the past week, a lot of local leaders have been squeaking very loudly together and, by doing so, they’ve been successful in bringing some much-needed COVID-19 vaccine doses to Guilford County.
Cone Health and Guilford County were left high and dry to a large extent last week after the state of North Carolina failed to provide over 10,000 anticipated vaccine doses to Guilford County and to Cone Health.
That prompted a letter from Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston that asked NC Governor Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr Mandy Cohen for a minimum of 5,000 doses this week. The letter explaining the rationale for the request was backed unanimously by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the local delegation of state legislators who were working behind the scenes – with phone calls and texts – to make sure Guilford County was taken care of this week.
“We got 7,725 doses,” said a delighted Alston on Friday, Jan. 29.
He said this was enough for the county to fulfill its next slate of vaccination appointments and also have some to give to Cone Health to help with that system’s giant needs right now.
Alston said this was a bipartisan effort and he went on to name a list of Republican and Democratic leaders in this area who helped.
“This was a total group effort,” he said.
Alston said that Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan had been a “very powerful force’ when it came to helping get vaccines to this area.
The letter Alston sent to Cooper and Cohen also asked that a state-sponsored mega-site event be held in Guilford County.
Alston said on Friday that he believed that was going to happen and added that Greensboro Coliseum Manager Matt Brown was in on those conversations.
Alston, who is friends with Cooper, said it’s not assured that the same amount of vaccine will be provided in future weeks, but Alston said does believe the governor and other state officials have come to understand the powerful need for the vaccine in this county in particular – given Guilford County’s central location, amount of pass-through traffic and the spread of the virus here.