All adults in North Carolina will be eligible for a vaccine beginning on April 7. But for Chapel Hill residents, the wait for a COVID-19 vaccine may be coming to an end even sooner.
UNC Health is providing surplus doses to residents living within 20 minutes of the Friday Conference Center, located at 100 Friday Center Drive in Chapel Hill, to ensure that no vaccines are wasted.
Elizabeth Ramsey, director of clinical business operations for UNC Health, said those seeking to obtain these vaccines must be at least 18 years old.
The vaccination site uses an independent Twitter account to notify the Chapel Hill community of excess doses.
From Twitter, residents are instructed to call the surplus line, a dedicated phone number used for gathering patient names. Ramsey said the phone line operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, and callers who get through are placed on the vaccine list.
“There is a small chance they won’t receive a dose that day,” Ramsey said. “But they will be scheduled within typically about a week at the clinic to receive an actual appointment.”
The site offers all approved vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Ramsey said that depending on the day, all three might not be available. Patients cannot choose between manufacturers, she said.
Kelsey Divers, clinical operations manager, said UNC Health began offering the extra doses to guarantee none would go to waste.
As of Friday, 25 people have used the service thanks to the Twitter account and surplus phone line. Ramsey credits Dr. Daniel Park, pediatric emergency medicine physician, and Dr. David Wohl, infectious diseases physician, with the idea of using social media.