99-year-old World War II veteran, 95-year-old woman among those vaccinated in central NC


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A 99-year-old World War II veteran and a 95-year-old who dreams of dinner with friends were two of the people who received COVID-19 vaccines Monday in central North Carolina.

As of Monday, UNC Health and Duke Health had vaccinated a total of more than 2,500 people as part of Phase 1b. Vaccinations began for people 75 years and older, the first group in Phase 1b, at a number of UNC clinics and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Duke Health began vaccinating people in this group last week on the campus of Duke University.

Dorothy Krimm didn’t even flinch during her COVID-19 vaccine.

“The needle really isn’t as long as it looks like on TV,” she said.

Krimm is grateful she got an appointment the first day Duke Raleigh offered shots to people 75 years and older.

“It’s kind of like a dream or a miracle,” she said. “What would you wish for? Well, I would wish that I could associate with other people.”

The pandemic has left many people isolated. But at 95 and dealing with cancer, Krimms can’t risk catching COVID-19.

“I know what would happen if I contracted the virus,” she said.

Duke Health officials said patients 75 years and older with chronic health conditions are prioritized when it comes to notification about available vaccines. Beyond that, anyone who is eligible can sign up for an appointment. It is first come, first served.

UNC, which is now offering vaccinations at a number of area clinics, alerted existing patients who meet the criteria for the shots. Anyone 75 and older can sign up online.

World War II veteran Elmer Hughes has seen a lot in his 99 years. He’s ready to see the end of this pandemic.

“The only way I know to get it behind us is for everybody to eventually be vaccinated,” he said after getting his shot at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill.

The first shot is just the first step, but it’s giving these seniors a reason to hope.

When asked what she’s most looking forward to after her series of shots, Krimm responded: “To go to the dining room and eat with people.”

She’ll wait two weeks after her second shot to do that and will continue to wear a mask and maintain social distance, which doctors said is important even after vaccination.

All vaccinations through Duke and UNC are by appointment only.

Shots at a UNC clinic can be scheduled online. As of Monday, Duke doesn’t have any openings for appointments. Its website offers more information on how to get on a waiting list and get notified when shots become available.

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