Health Team

UNC kicks off new phase in COVID vaccine delivery, allowing anyone 75 and older access

Posted January 11, 2021 1:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2021 5:39 p.m. EST

— UNC Health on Monday began rolling out Phase 1B of delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine – meaning people ages 75 and up could begin getting the vaccine.

The lines were short and orderly, and people were in and out in less than half an hour.

The scene was a departure from some of the long lines and chaos that has accompanied some health department scenes in various counties. UNC attributes the smooth and easy procedure to allowing visitors by appointment only.

What was it like getting a vaccine on the first day of Phase 1B?

76-year-old Judith Crook couldn't believe how easy it was to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine with UNC Health.

"Within three minutes my chart sent me an email saying your appointment has been scheduled," said Crook.

Glenn Kaluka, who also got a vaccine today, said, "I understand in certain sections or towns it was a little more difficult. But this went very smoothly."

The experience inside involves verifying personal information, getting the vaccine and being monitored for 15 minutes.

"It was very easy procedure. It went very smoothly. Everybody was very friendly in there – that I appreciated," said Kaluka.

The vaccines are not limited to current patients of the UNC Health System. Anyone 75 or up can get it.

Plans for expanding vaccination sites

The goal is increase the number of people who can get a vaccination each day, while curtailing the need for seniors to risk exposure by waiting in long lines.

While the Friday Center is the first location, UNC Health plans to have as many as a dozen sites across the state.

"We started out softly today. We just have a few hundred to get the kinks out and understand our process," he said Dr. David Wohl, professor of medicine at UNC Health’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

He said the rollout has gone very smoothly, and they hope to continue streamlining their process so more people can get vaccinated quickly and without having to wait.

"We don't want people having to spend a lot of time here," he said.

Wohl said the plan is to double the capacity for Tuesday and keep doubling as long as the vaccine supply can keep up.

There are more than 700,000 people over the age 75 in North Carolina – about 7 percent of the population. Roughly 85,000 of them live in the Triangle.​

So far in Phase 1A, UNC has vaccinated more than 21,000 health care workers, including 3,000 second doses which began last week.

Anyone over 75 can go to YOURSHOT.ORG and sign up for an appointment after filling our a short questionnaire. 

Looking for information about how to get vaccinated in your county? WRAL has compiled a list of county-by-county vaccine information.

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