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The original item was published from 1/16/2021 9:14:04 AM to 1/19/2021 3:45:01 PM.

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COVID-19 Media Releases

Posted on: January 16, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Media Release COVID-19 - January 16, 2021

For Immediate Release


Phone: 980-432-1800

Rowan County Case Information:

Rowan County Shares Lessons Learned from Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinics

Rowan County Public Health and Emergency Services have been working through the logistics for providing the COVID-19 vaccine to the public. Drive-thru clinics can be set-up by appointment or first come, first serve (FCFS). For the time being, Rowan County is working within the FCFS model for the following reasons:

  1. First-come first-serve allows us to serve the most citizens in the least amount of time. An appointment model requires extra staff both on the administrative side scheduling and updating appointments, and for the drive-thru itself.
  2. First-come first-serve allows us to ensure that all vaccines are used efficiently and none are wasted.  If a vaccine is opened, it must be used within 6 hours or it must be disposed of.   We want to ensure there is no vaccine waste.
  3. First-come first-serve allows us more flexibility as we are uncertain of when we will receive more vaccine shipments from the state, or how many vaccines will be received in those shipments.  We would not be able to schedule appointments until vaccines were in-hand, and we do not know when that will occur from week to week.

We would like the public to know that we are working extremely hard to get the vaccine out in the most time efficient manner. There are drawbacks to this model, which include the traffic caused as many try to get in line for the limited supply, and the frustration that we hear about the multiple trips without being able to get vaccine, especially for the 75 and older population. Once supply has increased, Rowan County Public Health is encouraged that this system will allow us to meet the need for those who do not want to wait for an appointment.

Some lessons learned from the previous clinic have been shared by Emergency Services Division Chief, TJ Brown: 

  1. Traffic patterns – we were able to create a new approach where people are now directed to enter from Statesville Boulevard. Rowan County Public Health and Emergency Services worked with the NC Department of Transportation and Salisbury City Traffic Engineering to create a new traffic flow pattern. This allows for more cards to fill a smaller space and keeps traffic orderly. 
  2. Spacing where vaccinations take place –the new staggered model allows for vaccines to be going on simultaneously across four lanes at the same time with enough comfort and safety for staff giving the vaccines.
  3. Tickets based on the number of doses – we implemented a new approach by monitoring those coming into the lines for eligibility and providing tickets based on the number of doses we have. We were able to alert individuals earlier that they were not eligible, preventing them from waiting in line and then finding out they could not get the vaccine.  Tickets also provide an “end” whereby anyone after those 600 doses was sent away without additional wait time. We understand how frustrating it can be to wait in a long line and then be turned away for vaccine. 
  4. Bio-support for individuals in cars – while we encourage everyone to bring their own snacks, water, and something to occupy their time during the wait, we also understand that “nature calls”. In order to assist clients, we have a system for clients being able to self-identify the need for help and for staff to assist them in getting to a restroom or portable toilet. We are working on a system that allows for patients in the line to call in directly with staff on the ground for quick help with immediate needs. 
  5. Communication with the public – stay tuned for more information as we are working on a text system to alert individuals who are traveling or waiting in line to get up-to-date information about the availability of vaccine. This information will be provided in a press release soon.

Rowan County Public Health will continue offering the first come, first serve option. Our COVID19 team is continuously reviewing all options as we work towards increasing efficiency, providing more doses out to individuals, and better serving our community. We are currently not making appointments for vaccinations at this time. For information regarding vaccine clinics for Rowan County, please monitor the website at:

As we go forward, please know that Rowan County Public Health’s number one priority is to ensure that all Rowan County citizens that want a vaccine can receive it, while also balancing vaccine supply and abiding by the phased approach provided to us by NCDHHS.


Amy Smith

Download Media Release COVID-19 - January 16, 2021 (PDF)

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