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The Voice of the Black Community


First doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in North Carolina
Charlotte's Atrium Health takes delivery
Published Tuesday, December 15, 2020
by Ashley Mahoney

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Atrium Health's Charlotte campus on Dec. 14 for distribution. Dr. Katie Passaretti, Atrium's medical director of infection prevention, became the first North Carolina resident to be vaccinated against the disease caused by coronavirus.

The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in North Carolina.

Atrium Health became the first health system in the state to receive and administer the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved COVID-19 vaccine, making Atrium Health among the first nationally to be given the vaccine.

Dr. Katie Passaretti, Atrium Health’s medical director of infection prevention became the first person in the state to be vaccinated for COVID-19. She said she felt “perfectly fine” in a video posted on Atrium Health’s Twitter.

“Just a moment of hope, a moment of potential for change of the course that we are on with the pandemic right now,” Passaretti said. “I couldn’t be more excited. I feel perfectly fine. I’ve had no issues with the vaccine. Again, we just encourage everyone to consider getting vaccinated. Talk to your doctor. Get educated.”

Officials hope the vaccine will help slow the spread of the virus, as cases continue to rise across the state, as well as the country. The vaccine is also expected to help lessen the effects of the virus should someone contract it.

Atrium Health has the Pfizer vaccine, which reports 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 among those with no display of previous infection. Moderna’s vaccine is pending FDA approval, and has reported 94.5% efficacy in trials.

Atrium Health’s first batch of vaccine will go to high-priority employees, such as those working in the emergency department, medical intensive care unit, as well as those at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Communities of color have been hit harder physically and economically by the virus’s impact. Even with the arrival of a vaccine, deep-rooted distrust still exists between Black Americans and the medical community.  Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles teamed up with Novant Health in an effort to encourage people of color to get the vaccine when it is available.

“As a leader, and a person of color, I believe it’s important to declare my commitment to get the vaccine because I am confident that it is safe and will be effective,” Lyles said in a statement. “And while I will get my vaccine after healthcare workers, first responders and our community’s most vulnerable citizens, I am making my plans known today in an effort to help others have the same confidence in the science.”

Novant Health has not received the vaccine yet, and is approved to distribute it at its Forsyth Medical Center, Presbyterian Medical Center and Brunswick Medical Center. Novant Health intends to administer vaccines from its screening assessment centers and community access clinics to ensure underserved communities have access. The state will provide Novant Health with 7,000 doses in the first round of distribution.


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