COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in Outer Banks and northeastern North Carolina before Christmas

Jeff Hampton, The Virginian-Pilot

Northeastern North Carolina counties are expected to get their first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine next week — a total of 4,400 doses.

Albemarle Regional Health Services is collaborating with local hospitals Sentara Albemarle Medical Center and Vidant Health to distribute the free Moderna vaccine, according to a release from ARHS.

The region will receive 4,000 doses for eight counties including Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Gates, Perquimans, Chowan, Hertford and Bertie.

Dare County is expected to get 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine by next week, said county health director Sheila Davies.

Outer Banks Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Dan Dwyer received the first vaccine in the county Friday, according to a hospital Facebook post. It was not clear if others were also vaccinated Friday. Vidant Health announced Thursday it had received 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and would distribute to hospitals in its system. Outer Banks Hospital is part of Vidant Health.

The vaccine requires two shots to build immunity, the release said. The second shot will come about three or four weeks after the first.

“The best way to fight COVID-19 is to first start with vaccinations for those most at-risk, then reach more people as the vaccine supply increases in 2021,” R. Battle Betts, Jr., ARHS health director, said in the release.

Immunizations will be given in phases according to CDC guidelines.

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Who gets the vaccine first?

Phase 1a

Health care workers at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 including doctors, nurses and all who interact and care for patients with the virus.

Long-term care staff and residents including people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes.

Phase 1b

Adults with two or more chronic conditions that put them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC, including conditions like cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes, among others.

Adults at high risk of exposure including essential frontline workers including police, food processers, teachers, childcare and health care workers.

Those living in prisons, homeless shelters, migrant and fishery housing with two or more chronic conditions.

Those working in prisons, jails and homeless shelters without chronic conditions.

Phase 2

Essential frontline workers, health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters or migrant and fishery housing. Adults 65 and older.

Adults under 65 with one chronic condition that puts them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC.

Phase 3

College and university students and K-12 students when there is an approved vaccine for children.

Those employed in jobs that are critical to society and at lower risk of exposure.

Phase 4

All others.