FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, was the first in line to get the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at WFBMC, the first location in the country to receive the vaccine shipment.
At about 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Ohl was on camera as he received his first dose. His second dose will come in 21 days.
When asked what was going through his mind in the moments leading up to injection, he said, “To tell you the truth, what I have to do for the rest of the afternoon. This is the easy part.”
Monday morning WFBMC received its first shipment of 2,925 doses of the vaccine.
The center is using a phased approach to offering the vaccine to employees, aligned with federal and state guidance. So far, they are prioritizing health care workers due to their high risk of exposure.
Novant Health provided FOX8 with the following statement: “Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center’s first-week allotment of vaccines is 2,925. We anticipate receiving our first allocation on Thursday, but this date is tentative as things remain fluid. We continue to conduct practice runs of procurement, distribution and administration as well as team member trainings.”
A Cone Health spokesperson said they also expect to receive the vaccine on Thursday. It will be administered on Friday at their Green Valley Campus.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the vaccines had arrived with a post on Twitter Monday morning.
“It’s a limited supply for now, but this is a remarkable achievement for science and health,” Cooper said. “We all need to keep wearing a mask and acting responsibly while we get as many people vaccinated as fast as we can.”
Shots made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech are the first authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration — beginning what will become the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. Several other countries also have OK’d the vaccine, including the U.K., which started vaccinating last week.
Packed in dry ice to stay at ultra-frozen temperatures, the first of nearly 3 million doses being shipped in staggered batches this week made their way by truck and by plane around the country Sunday from Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, factory. Once they arrive at distribution centers, each state directs where the doses go next.
More of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive each week. And later this week, the FDA will decide whether to green light the world’s second rigorously studied COVID-19 vaccine, made by Moderna Inc.
Now the hurdle is to rapidly get the vaccine into the arms of millions, not just doctors and nurses but other at-risk health workers such as janitors and food handlers — and then deliver a second dose three weeks later.