RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — This week, North Carolina health officials expect to receive more than 61,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and more than 175,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
More than half of the Moderna doses are slated for long-term care facilities. Meanwhile, many hospitals that received their first shots vaccinated employees through the weekend.
As we head into the holiday week, more hospital workers across the Triangle look forward to getting COVID vaccines.
“Just knowing that this is here and that they are in line is giving them hope,” said Dr. David Kirk, associate chief medical officer for WakeMed.
Some hospital employees at high risk of exposure, already received their shots.
“I’m in contact with COVID-positive patients on a daily basis,” explained Kammikia Barnes, a medical assistant with UNC, adding that she had lost a loved one during the pandemic.
Pharmacy resident Jordan Wallace administered the first vaccine at UNC Hospitals campus in Hillsborough.
“It felt like a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
After the first week of vaccines, no Triangle hospitals reported serious reactions. According to Duke, the most common side effect reported was a sore, red arm.
Still, many hospitals are staggering when employees from the same unit receive shots.
“I don’t want 100 percent of my ICU workforce to turn up and get the vaccine on the same day because if, say 10% of those guys do feel a little bit unwell the next day and need to take a day off work, I’ve lost a workforce,” explained Dr. Cameron Wolfe, infectious disease expert at Duke.
He added, that the possibility of side effects shouldn’t deter people from getting the shot.
“I don’t think people should be surprised that a vaccine that’s effective at stimulating your immune system makes you feel a bit lousy for 24 hours,” he noted.
As more shots become available, those who got them first, hope their experiences will help ease fears.
Deborah Washington, a critical care nurse in the COVID-19 ICU at WakeMed says she hopes she can inspire her family members to get the vaccine as well.
“It’s just not one of those things that is readily acceptable right now in my community, in the African-American community,” she said. “So if I can get it first and just document my progress and kind of convince other people, than that’s the most important thing for me.”