2,000 people ages 75+ vaccinated at Duke Health so far; Durham Co Health to start Phase 1b next week


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – In one week, people who are 75 years and older can start getting the COVID-19 vaccine by appointment at the Durham County Health Department.

Durham County received 3,200 doses of Moderna back in December. So far, they have administered 810 of those doses to people in Phase

1a, which includes health care providers, as well as long-term care staff and residents. Five hundred of those doses have been transferred to their community partners.

The health department still has 1,890 doses on its shelf that can be administered.

Durham resident Christine Williams is in her mid-70s. She is eagerly waiting to get her vaccine.

“I would like to get the vaccine if it’s going to keep me in a safe, healthy position,” Williams said.

After hearing about people in her age group already getting the vaccine in other counties — such as Alamance, Nash, and Cumberland — she questioned why Durham is just now moving to this phase next week.

“I just feel like they really haven’t gotten to us, to the people that need to get it right now,” Williams said.

Durham County Health Director Rod Jenkins said he does not necessarily consider Durham to be behind. However, he said they have faced some challenges as Durham County has a large group of medical professionals who needed to be vaccinated first.

“We wanted to take the time to make sure we vaccinated this group correctly,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said they are bringing in more staffing to speed up the process and they’ll be releasing information this week on how people in Phase 1b can make an appointment.

But 2,000 seniors in this age group have already got their vaccine at Duke Health.

Some people in Durham are wondering if they are better off going through a health care provider rather than the health department.

Linda Wilson, of Durham, said that it was easy for her and her husband to schedule an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine at Duke Health.

“My husband and I both have appointments first thing tomorrow morning,” Wilson said.

She said they were able to schedule their appointment within a week of making the call.

The vaccine is free at both the Durham County Health Department and at Duke Health.

CBS 17 asked Duke Health which option seniors should go with.

“The most important thing is to get vaccinated when you have the opportunity,” said Simon Curtis, vice president of ambulatory services at Duke Private Diagnostic Clinic. “Duke Health is working closely with the surrounding county health departments to do our part, but getting the vaccine anywhere it is available is best.”

Curtis said you do not have to have health insurance to get the vaccine at Duke Health. Officials said Duke Health does have some openings and they will open more slots as more vaccine doses arrive.

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