Local News

Mass vaccination effort aims to immunize citizens 75 and older

Posted January 13, 2021 11:14 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2021 9:16 a.m. EST

A push is underway to get more seniors vaccinated.

Under Center for Disease Control guidelines, those 75 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and a program administering mass vaccinations is aiming to vaccinate seniors faster.

The CDC says right now North Carolina ranks as the 10th slowest state in the country to administer the doses. But the mass vaccinations distribution attempts to speed things up.

WakeMed is one of 10 mass distribution sites in North Carolina. All 10 sites will be operational within the next week and will hopefully lead to an additional 45,000 vaccinations per week.

The process is straightforward: You must be 75 or older and you must tell your primary physician you want the shot. You also must make an appointment.

WakeMed Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris DeRienzo provided specific instructions as how to register.

“Reach out through MyChart or phone calls to get appointments and work them in. Each independent primary care practice will have their own way for their primary care community. Those that want the vaccine will have it scheduled.”

WakeMed, in Wake County, Duke, in Durham and UNC, in Orange County will all handle mass vaccinations. At one-point, UNC had 1,100 seniors 75 and older signed up.

UNC's Dr. David Zvara says that the vaccination process will be done carefully, so that seniors aren't unnecessarily exposed to the virus.

“We don’t want this to be a super spreader event," Zvara said. "We want this to be a thoughtful, organized event and appointment-only vaccination clinic.“

The vaccination process takes a lot of help. UNC is hiring more staff and currently deploying employees to help get people vaccinated.

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