While he said he doesn’t regret a decision Tuesday to vaccinate the general public who showed up at Halifax Community College on a day set aside for those in the 1A category, health Director Bruce Robistow said the plan will go back as was originally scheduled.
People who were turned away today were not in the 1A and 1B1 category, he said. The exact number of those turned away today was not immediately known.
“Number one, we had a substantial amount of vaccine,” he said this afternoon. “Number two, the state of North Carolina is being critiqued for being one of the slowest states to get the vaccine out. Because I had an allotted amount for the day and it wasn’t being used, I saw an opportunity to get more people vaccinated.”
However, he said, “The overwhelming response, although reassuring, showed me that I needed to stick with the DHHS (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services) plan. I did what I did because I thought it was the right thing. It turned out to be less helpful than I anticipated.”
Asked if he regretted the decision, the health director said, “I do not. Would I do it again? No. Yesterday I was so proud of my profession, my colleagues and the Halifax County community. It was refreshing to see how many people truly wanted to be vaccinated. Working through COVID-19 continues to be a rather fluid process with lessons learned on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. I regret any inconveniences that were caused today.”
He is hopeful the vaccinations for the general public can begin in March.
In a statement on the matter Robistow said, “The Halifax County Health Department began the day yesterday focused on vaccinating category 1A candidates. As there were limited candidates for this category responding for vaccines, I decided to open to 1B1 candidates as well. As people showed up at our site to be vaccinated, more public began to arrive wanting vaccines. I made the decision to use the vaccine allotted for the day to vaccinate those that requested it.”
Said Robistow in the statement, “My intention was to prevent stockpiling of the vaccine and try to get the vaccine out. As the word spread, the event became larger than could be managed. We are now returning to vaccinating only 1A and 1B categories at this time and will expand to the next categories as appropriate.”