Benson, N.C. — A drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic at West Johnston High School reached capacity on Wednesday just 10 minutes after it opened.
Cars were in line for the clinic before 6 a.m., and lines only got longer throughout the morning. At 10:10 a.m., staff had to turn cars away.
The clinic, which has held previous events, has been praised by community members in recent weeks for its efficiency in getting people vaccinated quickly. As a result, health officials from Wake, Harnett and Wilson counties have been studying its procedure.
The drive-thru clinic opened at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointments were required, but only people seeking first doses of the vaccine were allowed to attend.
Another COVID-19 vaccine clinic opens in Fayetteville on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Crown Expo Center. Vaccines will be available there for people who need first and second doses of the vaccine.
Before 1 p.m., appointments should be made online for the clinic. After 1 p.m., vaccines will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis.
In the Triangle, vaccine administration is ongoing but a slower process. Wake County received 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday and will receive the same amount for each of the next two weeks, but the number is less than half of what the county requested.
On Monday morning, there were still more than 80,000 people on Wake County’s vaccination waiting list.
Officials in Wake and Durham counties are finalizing plans for similar high-capacity vaccination events, in Research Triangle Park and possibly at PNC Arena in Raleigh. State officials would have to approve the plan and allocate doses to make it possible.
The state is divvying up about 90,000 doses a week among health departments and hospitals, providing each with a base amount. The remaining 55,000 doses a week will be sent to communities with high numbers of people 65 and older who are low income or live in rural or marginalized communities, officials said.
Some doses also will be directed to high-capacity vaccination clinics, such as one held Saturday and Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, where more than 20,000 people got shots – about 800 an hour.