Jeff Howell Emergency Management Coordinator:
Over the next few weeks Yancey County, as well as most other counties around the state, will not receive a complete allotment of first doses of the COVID19 vaccine. This is certainly not because of anything Yancey Health Dept or MCHP has or has not done. The leadership at the state level made a miscalculation and committed the majority of the vaccine to mass events in large metropolitan areas. I was on a conference call with Dr. Mandy Cohen yesterday and she assured the Emergency Management Coordinators and Health Dept Directors that all counties will receive vaccine for the next three weeks, albeit at a reduced level. Unfortunately, we have no idea what that amount will be. For that reason, there will very likely not be enough vaccine to warrant another mass event for a few weeks.
Second doses come in a totally separate allotment. If you received your first dose in Yancey County, rest assured your second dose may already be in the Health Dept inventory. Second doses can only be given as second doses, so there’s no concern they will be used up when it’s your turn to get stuck again.
After the overwhelming turnout last Tues & Thurs at the Health Dept and the congestion it created on the roads, Yancey County and Health Department leadership decided to not do mass drive up vaccinations at the Health Dept. That is not to say they will not do vaccinations by appointment at the HD. That will continue as in the past. 
Looking forward, we have identified several sites for outdoor drive thru clinics around the county. Winter weather in the mountains will make that a challenge, but honestly Yancey just doesn’t have an indoor facility that will accommodate that many people socially distanced, plus parking for 100+ cars. 
If you or a friend or family member has questions, please call the newly established Yancey COVID Helpline at 828-675-6197. Currently the phones are only staffed during business hours M-F. We are working to have volunteers answer calls between 5-7 pm through the week and 9am-6pm Sat, 12p-6p Sunday. If you would be interested in helping, please let me know and I will help get you plugged in. 
Lastly, we have a new service to help folks get the most current information for local vaccination opportunities. Please help me spread the word that folks can have the latest vaccine clinic schedule sent to their phone by texting YANCEY to 226787. 

NC SERT Leader Update
Secretary Cohen’s letter on COVID-19 Vaccine strategy: Secretary Mandy Cohen sent this letter today to vaccine providers outlining the state’s current vaccine allocation process and the strategy moving forward. She shared more detailed guidance on the process for allocations for the coming weeks to ensure more transparency and certainty now that the state has largely exhausted the backlog of vaccine supply.

Improved NC COVID-19 dashboard: At today’s news conference, Sec. Cohen announced a new format to the state’s vaccine dashboard. It now shows first and second doses received and administered by NC providers and the Federal Long Term care program, providing a much better accounting of shots going into arms across NC. It shows 95% of first doses administered by NC providers, counties and health departments. Great job team on eliminating the backlog! 

COVID-19 Vaccines: The shot is a free and effective way to begin to rebuild our sense of community and the economy. Visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services online to learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccines. I urge you to remember that currently the supply of vaccine is not as high as it will be in the coming months. It’s hard to be patient but everyone needs to continue to wear a mask, wait six feet apart, and wash their hands. Let us continue to double down on prevention! 

NCDHHS Launches “Find My Vaccine Group” to Help North Carolinians Know When They Have a Spot to Take Their Shot: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services launched a new online tool to help North Carolinians know when they will be eligible to get their vaccine. Find My Vaccine Group walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they are in. People can then sign up to be notified when their group can get vaccinated. Read more here

NCDHHS Releases COVID-19 Community Readiness Toolkit to Help Manage Mental Health Needs During Pandemic: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released the COVID-19 Community Readiness toolkit to help individuals find mental and behavioral health supports and resources in their communities.

The toolkit, COVID-19 Community Readiness: Helping Meet Needs for Persons Living with Behavioral Health Issues, Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, and Traumatic Brain Injuries,Open PDF provides resources to the public for a variety of mental health needs, including resources for parents engaging in online-school, family-based needs, resources for those within the I/DD community and others. Read more here

NCDHHS Web Updates on the C19 Pandemic: 

Emergency Management Update