Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) and several community partners worked together to vaccinate 214 individuals against COVID-19 on Monday, February 1, 2021, at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., was the third mass vaccination event conducted by the CCPHD in three weeks — previous events took place on January 18th and January 25th.
The department has now given 1,519 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine through mass vaccination events, appointments at the CCPHD’s Siler City clinic, and outreach events at locations including congregate and independent living facilities, with no doses wasted, by utilizing the available vaccine and drawing extra doses from vials when possible.
“It was exciting to see how well the event was organized and how welcoming and supportive the staff and volunteers were to me and the other seniors receiving their first COVID shot,” said Dennis Streets, executive director of the Chatham County Council on Aging (COA), who received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to kick off Monday’s event.
Those served at the appointment-only event — healthcare personnel who have in-person patient contact and adults ages 65 and older, Groups 1 and 2 of North Carolina’s vaccination prioritization guidance — received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine administered by CCPHD nurses. CCPHD staff, community volunteers and representatives from Chatham County Emergency Management, the Chatham County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, the Chatham County Manager’s Office and Chatham County Sheriff’s Office worked to set up the event, vaccinate residents and ensure everyone’s safety.
The CCPHD coordinated with the COA and the Chatham Transit Network to provide transportation to the event for 16 seniors who do not have transportation of their own. This effort was part of a NC Department of Health and Human Services and NC Department of Transportation initiative that provides state funding to make these rides free for those who need them to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
“It was great to see Chatham Transit vehicles coming through our vaccination clinic throughout the day,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek. “We have been concerned that those without transportation might not be able to get vaccinated, and are grateful to Chatham Transit and the Chatham County Council on Aging for their partnership to make sure that is not the case. These services will continue to be vital in the weeks and months ahead.”
In addition to CCPHD’s vaccination clinics, Chatham Transit provides transportation to COVID-19 vaccination appointments through other providers as well. Residents may schedule a ride to their appointment by calling 919-542-5136.
Individuals who received their first dose of the vaccine at this event were scheduled to receive their second dose in four weeks. Plans for future events are tentative depending on vaccine supply. The CCPHD is currently in the planning stages for another appointment-only vaccination clinic scheduled for Friday, February 5th, specifically working with a faith community in southwest Chatham County. The NC Department of Health and Human Services has begun allocating additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to providers and counties based on several factors to improve equity in vaccine distribution and bring events to historically-marginalized populations and areas with less access to healthcare. These allocations are given on a week-to-week basis — the CCPHD requested and is receiving 200 first doses this week for that effort.
The CCPHD will receive an additional 200 first doses this week, marking the first batch of the new baseline allocation promised by the state for each of the next three weeks. Last week, the department began administering second doses of the vaccine as well. Future clinics at the Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro will be scheduled based on these allocations. Those who have signed up for the CCPHD’s contact database online or by phone will be contacted by email and/or phone as appointments become available, but the CCPHD asks residents to please be patient due to the extremely limited supply of vaccine relative to the number who are eligible. The Public Health Department has received nearly 17,000 requests from the public, including more than 11,000 from individuals in Groups 1 and 2, for the vaccine through its Vaccine Information Tool (www.chathamnc.org/vaccinetool) and by phone.
The CCPHD also encourages eligible residents to reach out to other vaccine providers in the area for appointments, including:
- UNC Health is offering the COVID-19 vaccination for individuals ages 65 and older, including at its site behind Chatham Hospital in Siler City (Medical Office Building) and nearby options such as Chapel Hill. Interested individuals should visit www.unchealthcare.org/schedule or call (984) 215-5485 to schedule an appointment when available.
- Duke Health, based in Durham, is also scheduling vaccinations when available. To learn more, visit https://www.dukehealth.org/covid-19-update/covid-19-vaccine-update or call (919) 385-0429.
- For a full list of options in North Carolina, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/findyourspot.
Residents should be aware that vaccine providers have limited supply and may not have appointments available right away.
To learn more about how Chatham County is distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, visit chathamnc.org/coronavirusvaccine. The Chatham County Public Health Department can be found online at chathamnc.org/publichealth and facebook.com/chathamhealth