Wake County has the highest population in North Carolina, but it received the third fewest doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per person statewide through the week of January 18.  

No wonder the rollout is going slowly. 

Following a report from local health officials, Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Calabria requested a list of how many vaccines were received by each county in the state. In crunching the numbers by population size, he found Wake County ranked 98th out of 100 counties in the state in terms of vaccine distribution per capita. 

While Durham County received 41,800 doses of the vaccine–approximately one dose for every eight residents–Wake got 40,850–just one dose for every 27 people in the county. 

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Wake County’s rollout has been slower than some surrounding counties, in part, because the county is taking a cautious approach by administering the vaccine by appointment only and not opening up mass vaccination centers. However, Calabria said Wake has the capacity to vaccinate more people than it currently is, but is limited by the number of doses it has received.

“There is no doubt that the defining factor in all of this is supply and demand,” Calabria said. “If we get fewer doses of the vaccine, the result will be that we are able to provide fewer doses.”

On Tuesday, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen announced that the state would be modifying its distribution plan to better account for population disparities. Calabria is hopeful this will mean more vaccines will become available for Wake County residents in the coming weeks.

“We have the capacity. We have the ability. We just need more vaccine,” Calabria said. 

According to NC DHHS, Wake County has administered 68,775 doses of the vaccine total as of today, including 57,861 first doses and 10,914 second doses. 

Right now, healthcare workers and residents 65 years and older can get on the waiting list to receive the vaccine by appointment. To learn more, click here.

This story has been updated from an earlier version. 

Follow Interim Managing Editor Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com

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