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ROCKINGHAM — The confusion that lead a number of elderly residents to arrive hours early to their vaccination appointments on Monday was caused by an inconsistency between FirstHealth’s online portal and what hospital staff told those residents two weeks prior, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.
FirstHealth is in the process of vaccinating anyone who is over the age of 65 regardless of medical condition. Emily Sloan, director of public relations for FirstHealth of the Carolinas, said that when they began administering the first of two doses to those in this age range four weeks ago, the schedule for the second doses wasn’t completed in the hospital’s internal health record system, which is called Epic.
“We weren’t sure the exact time we would be scheduling the second dose clinic,” Sloan said in an email. “Therefore, we told individuals that we would call them to let them know the time for their second doses and to disregard what would show in MyChart (FirstHealth’s patient portal).”
Two weeks ago, hospital staff called the individuals due for their second doses to give them the correct times, which were between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday. But MyChart still showed a Monday morning time for the appointments, and Sloan said that a few followed the time listed on their MyChart or didn’t receive the message from the hospital with the correct time.
One resident interviewed by the Daily Journal, who took her mother to what she thought was her vaccination appointment on Monday morning, expressed frustration at being asked to come back later in the day due to the difficulty of getting her mother to travel to the hospital. It’s unclear how many arrived at the wrong time on Monday.
“We sincerely apologize to those who were inconvenienced and had to return at the appropriate time,” she said. “However, we didn’t have the supplies (vaccine has to be thawed prior to administration) or staff available at that time.”
How to get vaccinated
FirstHealth and the Richmond County Health Department are hosting several vaccination clinics every week. The clinics are open only those who have a scheduled appointment. Walk-ins will not be admitted.
If you are 65 or older and would like to be vaccinated, call (910) 417-3030 to schedule your appointment. Patients should be prepared to leave a voicemail with your name, date of birth, email address and a phone number where you can be reached. A representative of the hospital or health department will call you back within four business days to schedule your appointment and collect your information.
In Richmond County, all eligible age groups will receive the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses. The second dose will be given approximately 28 days after your first dose. FirstHealth and the Health Department will schedule your second vaccine at the time you receive the first.
Be prepared to wait for 15 to 30 minutes after you have received the vaccine, during which time staff in order to allow time for staff to determine whether you will have any allergic reaction. All vaccinated persons will be monitored for any side effects by health care personnel.
Additional vaccination phases will be announced and dictated by the State.
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Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]