Hundreds lined up outside the Health Department in Yancey County early Tuesday morning, hoping to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
Witnesses tell News 13 some people began waiting in line at 4 a.m. just hoping to get a vaccination before the supply ran out. By 7 a.m., that line had grown to around 300-400 people, witnesses say.
The long lines forced health officials to temporarily close the clinic until noon, allowing some time for the traffic to clear up.
Public Health Services cannot turn away anyone who wants the vaccine and qualifies under the current vaccination rollout plan. Anyone who was in group 1a and anyone over 65 years of age qualifies for the vaccination.
Public Health staff tell News 13 they expect to distribute up to 250 doses by the end of the day Tuesday. The vaccination site will be open until 3 p.m. Tuesday, and then again Wednesday and Thursday from 8:15 a.m.-4 p.m. Officials say as long as you are in line by 3 p.m., qualify to receive the vaccine and they still have some available, you will get one.
On their Facebook page, the health department said they have plenty of vaccines and there is a regular supply. They also point out that the vaccine is for everyone, “This vaccine is a Federal resource. What that means is that this resource is available to every person in the United States. Since we are providing this vaccine for the state, we are required to provide it to anyone who comes to our vaccination clinics no matter where they are from. So if they are from out of county or even out of state we must provide them with the vaccine if they are in the right priority group (65 years old and older). That also means that you can go to any other county and get the vaccine.”
The health department is asking the public for kindness and patience as the clinics continue.
I don't want our residents to be rude to those people who may be getting a vaccine but don't live in our counties. Honestly this helps us. The more vaccine we can use, the more we will get. Originally the state based our allotments on population. Now they're basing the allotments on usage so the more we use, the more we'll get in return. Our goal is to vaccinate every person who wants vaccinated. So please be kind and patient.