Vaccine clinics set for staff at Dare schools, COA, law enforcement; N.C. expands inoculations priorities

Fledra Hatch receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Giner Niu at the Durham County Department of Public Health on January 8, 2021. [photo courtesy NCDHHS]

Dare County teachers and staff in the public schools and at College of The Albemarle, along with members of local law enforcement, will get their first of two COVID-19 vaccinations at a clinics starting next weekend.

Also on Thursday, North Carolina health officials announced they will shift with the latest CDC guidance and begin vaccinating all healthcare workers and everyone age 65 and older.

And the state will also launch a number of large-scale vaccination clinics across North Carolina, including in Currituck and other northeastern counties.

Dare County Schools and COA staffs, local law enforcement vaccine clinics

Dare Schools Superintendent Dr. John Farrlley shared an update with Dare County Schools parents regarding the clinics that will begin next weekend:

Due to the incredible advocacy and work of Dr. Sheila Davies and the Dare County Health and Human Services Department, I am very pleased to announce that Dare County Schools staff will have the opportunity to get the first of two COVID-19 vaccine shots on Saturday, January 23 at a clinic at First Flight High School. A summary of the details is as follows:

1. Vidant Hospital in Greenville (Thank you!!!) is providing Dare County with 1,100 shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

2. The clinic on January 23 is for all DCS staff (who want the shot); COA personnel and Dare County Law Enforcement officials. FFHS is the sole site for this clinic. The clinic will be held in the school gymnasium, rotunda, and cafeteria areas.

3. The second shot clinic will take place on Saturday, February 13 at FFHS (also from 9:00 – 5:00).

4. There are currently no other clinic dates available. There is a vaccine priority process change being announced within the next 24 hours whereby adults who are 65 and older get moved up the priority list for vaccine availability. This will likely result in pushing out vaccine availability to educators later into the spring (this is fluid). Since Dr. Davies received clinic approval from the state prior to the new priority protocols being established, she can hold the January 23 and February 13 clinics.

5. The Pfizer shot requires a second shot on day 21 as opposed to the Moderna shot 28 days later.

6. Following the second shot, everyone has 2 additional weeks (according to the science) before they are considered to be in the 95% immunity category. So, when you take a look at your calendar that brings us to February 27.

7. Anyone who is in quarantine or has been a laboratory-confirmed positive 14 days prior to EITHER shot is not eligible to take the shot. So, please be as vigilant as ever and follow the 3 W’s!!

8. FFHS will be closed on the following dates (Except child nutrition staff running the feeding program) in order to set up and run the clinics: January 22, January 23, February 12, and February 13.
I know that the next question in the community will focus on how this impacts the remote learning decision and the current March 18 timeline. I will confer with our leadership team and the Board of Education to discuss potential next steps. The Board will discuss this at their next scheduled meeting (February 9) or they could opt to call another special called meeting.

In closing, I want to thank Dr. Davies, County Manager Bobby Outten, Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson, members of the Dare County Department of Health and Humans Services, and Vidant Hospitals (in Dare and Pitt Counties) for their leadership and support of DCS.

Health care workers and adults 65 and older are next to receive vaccine

Two days after federal officials announced that more American can start receiving their shots, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that providers who are ready can expand to giving vaccinations to all health care workers and anyone 65 years and older.

More from the NCDHHS statement:

“Doctors, hospitals and local health departments are working hard to get people vaccinated. There may be a wait, but when it’s your spot, take your shot to stay healthy and help us get back to being with family and friends,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Because vaccine supplies are currently limited, states must make vaccine available in phases. To save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19, independent state and federal public health advisory committees recommend first protecting health care workers, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

North Carolina moves through vaccination phases by aligning to federal priorities while giving local health departments and hospitals the flexibility to move to the next priority group as they complete the previous one and have vaccines available.

With today’s announcement, vaccine providers who are ready may vaccinate adults 65 years and older and health care workers, which will be followed by frontline essential workers, then adults with high risk of exposure and increased risk of serious illness, then everyone. It is the responsibility of all vaccine providers to ensure equitable access to vaccines. This will mean taking intentional actions to reach and engage historically marginalized communities.

“We know that people are doing all that they can to learn about the vaccines so they can make the best decision for themselves and their families. It can be hard to know what is true and what can be trusted. We are here to provide you with honest, factual information,” said Secretary Cohen.

Large-scale inoculation clinics coming to northeastern North Carolina

NCDHHS also announced Thursday they are partnering with health systems, local health departments and community health centers across the state to host large community vaccine events for people currently eligible to be vaccinated.

Officials estimated that more than 45,000 vaccines are expected to be given through these events statewide.

“The state will continue to support our local health departments and hospitals to get shots in arms faster,” said Cohen. “These partners were selected because they were able to rapidly increase the number of vaccines they could deliver as part of this effort.”

Partners were selected based on their ability to administer a large number of vaccine doses or to provide access to vaccine doses to marginalized communities. N.C. Emergency Management and the National Guard are also providing support in some locations.

The vaccine events in Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Hertford, Pasquotank, and Perquimans counties are being coordinated through Albemarle Regional Health Services.

Some locations are providing the vaccine by appointment only. To learn more about the events, visit the websites of the providers listed above. Their websites can be found, listed by county, at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/findyourspot.     

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Sam Walker is news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3. Reach him at swalker3@jammediallc.com