A Charlotte doctor on Monday became the first person in North Carolina to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Atrium Health. In a video posted to Twitter, the hospital system's Medical Director of Infection Prevention, Dr. Katie Passaretti, said she was the first to get the shot.
"I couldn't be more excited. I feel perfectly fine. I've had no issues with the vaccine," Passaretti said in the video.
UPDATE: Atrium Health's Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Katie Passaretti just became the first person in North Carolina to be vaccinated for COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/Le2D1iqFR2
— Atrium Health (@AtriumHealth) December 14, 2020
The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in North Carolina on Monday morning and Atrium was among the first hospital systems in the state to receive vaccine doses. According to Little, Atrium received just "a small portion" of the shipment it expected. Little and a spokesperson for Atrium declined to provide specific numbers. State health officials estimated last week that North Carolina would initially receive about 85,800 doses of the vaccine.
“It’s a limited supply for now, but this is a remarkable achievement for science and health,” Gov. Roy Cooper wrote on Twitter Monday morning.
Novant Health in Charlotte and Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory are also expected to receive vaccines as early as Monday. They will begin by vaccinating their health care workers who are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19, like those who care for patients hospitalized with the disease.
“It all starts with health care workers that are working directly with folks who have COVID-19,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s health and human services secretary, said at a press conference on Thursday. “It’s either the clinical staff, the cleaning staff--anyone that’s coming into contact with folks who have this virus.”
The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in North Carolina. It’s a limited supply for now, but this is a remarkable achievement for science and health. We all need to keep wearing a mask and acting responsibly while we get as many people vaccinated as fast as we can.
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 14, 2020
The state’s vaccine distribution plan also prioritizes residents and workers in long-term facilities like nursing homes. Cohen estimated last week that vaccinating the state’s health care workers along with its long-term care workers and residents would likely last into January. After that, she said the state will start vaccinating adults who have two or more chronic conditions and frontline workers.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots. North Carolina State Pharmacist Dr. Amanda Fuller Moore, who’s managing the state’s vaccine distribution, said on Thursday that the initial shipment of doses will be used as first doses and that the federal government will send the second doses in two weeks.
“We can look in our online systems that show us our allocations...and we see that those second doses are there in line. So we feel confident that every two weeks we will be receiving the follow-up doses,” Moore said.
At least five hospital systems in North Carolina have said they will not initially make the COVID-19 mandatory for employees: Atrium Health, Novant Health, Duke Health, UNC Health and Wake Forest Baptist.
“Our goal is to educate and inform our team members around the benefits and the safety of the vaccine and let them make an informed decision around whether to receive it,” Becky Bean, senior vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Novant, said in an interview with WFAE earlier this month.
Employers can make vaccines mandatory for employees, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but can also allow them to request medical or religious exemptions.
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