A year after getting 1st COVID vaccine shot in Triangle, nurse talks about encouraging others


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Tuesday, Dec. 14, marks one year since COVID-19 vaccines first became available in the Triangle.

A nurse who came out of retirement to work at Duke during the pandemic was the first to receive her shot. Now she’s vaccinating others.

Faye Tate Williams can hardly believe a year has passed since she became the first person in the Triangle to receive the COVID vaccine. Since then, she’s received her second dose and her booster, and she’s spent a lot of time encouraging others to get vaccinated.

“I’ve talked to people at the gas station, at Costco,” she said. “People recognize my face and so as a result of that they have a lot of questions.”

She’s happy to answer them, but that’s not the only way she’s helping with vaccination efforts.

She’s now giving others their shots at Duke’s vaccine clinic.

“We are giving a lot of boosters these days,” she noted.

Duke Health offers both appointments for vaccines and walk-in clinics.

“I go to work some days and we will have 29 people, 29 appointments, and by the time I leave in eight hours we’ve done 170. One day we did 200,” Tate Williams said.

Wake County’s health department requires appointments but said it’s possible to get an appointment as soon as the next day depending on vaccine type and location.

You do not have to get your booster at the same place you got your first two doses. Some pharmacies are booked more than a week out, but it’s possible to find open appointments here and there, even for the same day. Some Walmart stores also take walk-ins.

Wherever they go, Tate Williams hopes people will get their vaccines and boosters as soon as possible, and a year after her first dose, she’s grateful to do her part to protect others.

“Every person that I vaccinate is giving another person a chance,” she said. “Not only does it give that person a chance, it gives their family — anybody else they’re interacting with — a chance, so I never get tired.”

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