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WINSTON SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 14, 2021) – Novant Health today announced it will open six mass vaccination distribution sites across the state after a commitment by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to increase its COVID-19 vaccine supply allocation. The health care system has requested 95,000 doses a week in order to meet high-demand and ensure equitable and efficient distribution of the vaccine. Locations will be added to include community and corporate partners soon.
“The people of North Carolina deserve a vaccination program that leads the nation in speed, scope and effectiveness of distribution,” said Carl S. Armato, president and chief executive officer of Novant Health. “We appreciate the state’s support and are eager to activate our plan to immediately, and significantly, increase vaccination rates in North Carolina.”
The state’s commitment to increasing allocation comes at a critical time with its expansion of phase 1b, group 1, to include a larger population of senior citizens age 65 and older. To ensure additional populations across all communities are able to access the vaccine as soon as they become eligible, Novant Health’s mass distribution plan can accommodate up to 20,000 vaccines a day. If Novant Health receives a weekly allocation of 95,000 doses from NCDHHS, the health care system has the capabilities to administer 1 million doses by the beginning of April.
While more details are forthcoming, the mass vaccination sites will cover 14 counties and more than quadruple the amount of appointments available in each community. Novant Health is partnering with climate innovator Trane Technologies, who will provide large-capacity SuperFreezers to support safe and ultra-cold storage of the vaccine, as well as logistics expertise to help the sites run as efficiently as possible. Additionally, Novant Health is working with the Charlotte Hornets to utilize Spectrum Center in various activations during the vaccine distribution process. The Uptown arena would provide people easy access to the light-rail line.
“Our plan not only optimizes for speed, scale, and efficiency, but more importantly, ensures equity for all,” added Armato. “We have to work together - across health care systems and county lines - to be certain no community is at a disadvantage. At the end of the day, our collective goal should be to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, leaving no dose unused and no community behind.”
To date, Novant Health has administered over 18,500 vaccines for team members during phase 1a in North Carolina, 4,500 of which were second doses of the vaccine. Since patient vaccinations began on Jan. 5, the health care system has vaccinated more than 3,300 patients 75 and older across its footprint in North Carolina with thousands of appointments scheduled through March.