GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Vidant Health has received its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Vidant received 3,900 doses of the vaccine, which was originally scheduled to be administered to frontline team members across the system starting Friday, as outlined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. However, the first vaccine was given Thursday evening, hospital officials said in a press release.
“The vaccine offers incredible hope for our health care workers, families, friends, neighbors, and the world,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO, Vidant Health. “While this is a monumental step in overcoming the pandemic, we do not yet know when the vaccine will be available to the broader community.
“It remains vitally important that the community helps us stop the spread now by wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands often. We need your help.”
Now equipped with the coronavirus vaccine, the health system has a simple goal: to vaccinate as many caregivers and focus on individuals that regularly work with COVID-19 patients.
During Phase 1, the following Vidant team members and other community health care providers will be among the first to be offered the vaccine: Health care workers and first responders who are caring for a COVID or “very likely” COVID patient and those highest at-risk for infection or severe illness.
With 9,000 people across the health system signing up to get the vaccine, this round of vaccines won’t last long. More vaccines will be on the way, with the hospital receiving weekly allotments from the state.
“Vaccinate as many of our caregivers as we can with a focus, of course, on those that see COVID-19 patients that are actively ill in our COVID-19 units and have the potential to see COVID patients in our emergency rooms,” said Dave Harlow, vice president of Allied Health for Vidant.
As the general public waits for available vaccinations, health care workers say the vaccine is safe.
“I have complete confidence that that process was attended to and we’ve seen the data, so we’re completely confident in that and I would advocate everyone that is concerned about getting COVID themselves to get the vaccine,” Harlow said.
Pitt County Health Director John Silvernail said earlier this week he is hopeful they will receive their allotment of Moderna vaccines sometime next week, after it receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration.