Rep. Cawthorn tours vaccine distribution at Tryon Equestrian Center

Local News

MILL SPRING, NC (WSPA) – North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn toured the Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) as part of a push to get more vaccines.

The center is usually filled with horse enthusiasts, but right now it is a place to get the coronavirus vaccine. The only hindrance is the short supplies.

Thousands of doses of the coronavirus vaccine have to be distributed and the TIEC is doing its part to make that happen.

“So, within two hours of the first vaccines the first shots were given and then they’ve been scheduling these – not only here, but in other places in the county and this has been the largest site for Polk County, and they’ve been scheduling these as they’ve had vaccines available,” said Sharon Decker, President of Carolinas Operations for TIEC.

The current plan is to have the shot administered to pre-registered people as they drive through the arena.

Josh Kennedy is the Director of the Community Health Department and is responsible for reaching out to the equestrian center back in October to start the planning process, even before the vaccine was shipped out. The goal is to get cars in and out in a matter of minutes.

“We screen clients ahead of time so it’s pretty streamlined,” said Kennedy. “We evolved as we have learned in the past two weeks how to get a little faster.”

The issue in North Carolina mirrors that of many states across the country: They don’t have enough of the vaccine to meet the demand. That’s why Rep. Cawthorn’s visit is so significant.

“They get sent from the federal government into our state, into the governor’s office. Someone in the governor’s office has control of them on where they get delegated to,” said Cawthorn. “We’re supposed to be sending 84,000 out to all 100 counties, which is a little under a thousand a day, which is unfortunate. So we have sent a letter to the Roy Cooper’s administration to figure out where that is.”

For the congressman and many involved in this process, it’s about taking care of the people in the community. 

“One of the beautiful things about living in western North Carolina is that there is really a community spirit,” said Decker. “So there is a collaboration right whether it’s a private owned business or government initiative, local volunteers were all in their together so for us to be a part of it is an honor.”

Officials say they’ll continue giving the vaccine on property until the horse shows begin; they’ll then move the operation to a nearby baseball field.

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