Smooth sailing for COVID-19 vaccine recipients at UNC-Chapel Hill clinic

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – UNC Health expects to vaccinate 10,000 people throughout their health system this week. At their biggest vaccine clinic at the Friday Center in Orange County, about 850 people were vaccinated Monday with another 850 scheduled for Tuesday.

An appointment-based system has made the process painless for many.

A COVID-19 vaccine means a fresh start for some.

“My socialization has been with my neighbors in a circle where we yell at each other,” said Becky Myer.

She was scheduled for her vaccine on Monday. She’s already looking forward to life after her second dose.

“I wait two more weeks and then I’m free, I’m free,” she said.

Myer’s appointment was made by her son who didn’t have any issues setting it up.

Neither did Eunice Earnest. She got a call from UNC saying she was eligible to sign up online, so she did.

“Just that easy, very lucky,” Earnest said. The vaccine takes a small weight off her shoulders.

Click here find your county’s plan for vaccinations.

“Not being able to socialize, be out and about, whatever. Just get rid of the stuff, the more vaccinated the better,” she said.

Both vaccine recipients call the process inside a well-oiled machine. Appointments last about a half-hour with dozens of people inside guiding them through the process.

“You just go in, they direct you everywhere you need to go. Very quick very efficient just very nice,” Earnest said.

But not everyone can get in right away. Orange County is appointment only.

“If we don’t have vaccine supply we don’t open up our templates to have people scheduled because we don’t want people to come here and have to tell them that we don’t have a vaccine for them.”

The number of daily appointments may increase from 850 a day in the future if vaccine capacity increases as promised by federal health officials.

“That seems to be a pretty comfortable pace for how many people we have working and what we need to do and how many vaccines we have,” Wohl said.

As UNC works through the 65 and older population, people coming through for their shot are eager for a healthy future.

“It’s the correct thing to do at this time, too many people are dying,” Myer said.

Who’s next in line?

Under the new plan, the first two groups are already underway. Those groups are all health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and adults 65 years and older.

While previous plans spread essential workers throughout different phases, the revised plan places them all in the third group. Those people include people working in education or daycare, grocery stores, or public transit workers. They also include first responders, people in food, and agriculture. Corrections workers and postal service workers are also in group 3.

The following group is for people at high risk for exposure to the virus or at high risk for severe illness from the virus.

The remainder of the public is in the final group. While college students were prioritized in earlier plans, they are part of the general public now.

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