Special Montreat Minute January 7, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccinations starting for those 75 and over

We received information this morning from Buncombe County Health and Human Services regarding the COVID-19 vaccination:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Buncombe County DHHS (BCHHS) are opening Phase 1B in small groups due to the limited vaccine supply. Phase 1B Group 1 will begin with persons 75 years and older in order to best manage vaccine dose availability.  BCHHS will begin vaccinating this population the week of January 11, 2021. You must call BCHHS to schedule your immunization shot. Below are more details about the process.

  • People who fall into Phase 1B (those 75 and over) can call BCHHS now to schedule their COVID-19 immunization. Call 828-419-0095 (this is not the general number), Monday-Friday, between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Hit Option 1, then Option 3. Please be aware that there is likely to be a significant wait to get through on this number. Appointments started at 9:00am today, and the lines are flooded. Keep trying.

  • As long as the vaccine supply is available, appointments will be available for this population. If you are not in this age group, please refer to the BCHHS COVID-19 website for information regarding the future phases.
  • Vaccine supply is extremely limited during the first phases of the vaccination effort. For this reason, you must have an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Buncombe County at this time.

  • If you are 74 or younger, there will not be a way to move into phase 1b, even if you have high risk health conditions.  Please note that there are exceptions for healthcare workers, essential workers, and residents of congregate living facilities.
  • When making your appointment, you will receive information on where and when to arrive for your vaccine. In order to maintain a steady flow of appointments and a safe environment, please arrive at your scheduled time.
  • Remember, two COVID-19 shots are necessary to build up immunity and we have a plan to help everyone get both doses. The second shot will come 3-4 weeks after the first. It is important to get two doses of the same vaccine.   
  • The vaccine is free to everyone, even if you don’t have health insurance. While there is a small administrative fee covered by insurance, cost will not be a barrier to your COVID-19 immunization.  
  • Your ability to get a vaccine is not impacted by your citizenship status and there is not an ID requirement. You (or a legal guardian) will need to sign a consent form to get the vaccine when you arrive. Language services will be available on site.
  • If you are 75 yrs or older, then you are phase 1b.  
  • If you are 65-74, then you are phase 2, group 1.
  • If you are 64 or younger with high risk health conditions (see link below for list), then you are phase 2, group 2.
  • If you are 64 or younger and healthy, then you are phase 4.
  • If you are a healthcare or essential worker, then this may impact tiering.

How to help:

As we move through the phases of the vaccination process, we ask our community to be patient. We are only able to schedule appointments based on the amount of vaccine that is shipped to our county. Please continue to practice the 3Ws and limit your exposure to others as much as possible. It will take all of us practicing the 3Ws with the vaccine, to crush COVID.