Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen witnessed some of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the country at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill. UNC Health has begun administering the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to health care workers who interact with COVID-19 patients. This includes doctors, nurses, custodial staff and more employees who have risked their health to care for patients infected with this virus.
“I am grateful for these health care workers who have worked tirelessly and put their lives at risk for months to care for patients with this virus,” Governor Cooper said. “It’s a tremendous relief that this vaccine can soon provide an extra layer of protection as they do their jobs.”
UNC Health is one of 11 hospitals that received Pfizer vaccine shipments on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Forty-two additional hospitals across the state are expected to receive shipments today. With the Moderna vaccine expected to receive authorization soon, even more health care providers throughout North Carolina will begin receiving vaccinations.
“It’s really an emotional moment to see our frontline health care workers – these heroes who courageously show up every day, sacrificing so much to care for others – get cared for themselves,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
“The first COVID-19 vaccine has been highly anticipated here at UNC Health through our clinical trial work, testing development and clinical treatment of COVID patients,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health. “We are extremely pleased to have our vaccination clinics set up and operational across the state so that we may offer this important tool in the fight against COVID-19, and remain deeply grateful to Governor Cooper for his role in leading us to this point.”
Health care workers who interact with COVID-19 patients are the first group of North Carolinians to receive vaccines, followed by residents and staff of long-term care facilities. To learn more about North Carolina’s vaccine distribution process, read the vaccine plan from NCDHHS.
To allow for proper distancing and safety protocols, coverage of this event was pooled in coordination with the North Carolina Press Association.
Video footage of this event is available for media use here.
Still photos are available here, credit to Travis Long of the News and Observer.