Tuesday, June 18
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Phones Crash As Health Dept Begins COVID Vaccine Appointments

ASHEBORO NC [ARCHIVED]– High call volumes crashed the county’s phone system after the Randolph County Health Department announced it would begin scheduling appointments for Phase 1b, group 1 Tuesday morning.

Since receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Randolph county, Nurses and Paramedics at the health department have been working to get everyone eligible under Phase 1a vaccinated. That includes health care staff working with COVID-19 patients and workers administering COVID-19 vaccines. 

The county health department is following a  phased vaccination plan set out by N.C. DHHS. The vaccination plan was developed by the state’s COVID Vaccine Advisory Committee with guidance from the National Academy of Medicine. In a press release, the county health department says that initial phases will concentrate on the most vulnerable populations, including long-term care facilities, first responders, healthcare workers, and others involved in treating COVID patients or administering the vaccine. 

Shortly after the announcement of the vaccine plan on December 18th, N.C. DHHS posted its bi-weekly update on December 22nd. It showed that Randolph County had crossed over the 10% 14-day positivity rate placing the county in the red under the COVID-19 County Alert System

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in clinical trials according to data submitted to the FDA as part of the vaccine’s emergency approval application. The vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 years and older and requires 2 shots, 21 days apart. 

That December press release by the Randolph Health Department stressed that “[a] tested, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help us defeat the virus, get back in control of our lives”. Health officials are stressing the safe part of that statement. While the vaccine was still in clinical trials back in September only 51% of Americans said they would definitely or probably get a vaccine. In December that number rose to 60%. That leaves almost four-out-of-ten (39%) of the people polled who say they definitely or probably would not get a vaccine. It seems that half of the people who said they would not be getting the vaccine say it’s possible they would decide to get vaccinated, once they see others start getting a vaccine and/or more information becomes available. 
Health experts say 75% of the country would need to receive the vaccine to obtain herd immunity. 

Data so far shows that only a small number of people nationwide have had severe side effects from the vaccine, which is common with most vaccines. Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine currently being used by the health department does not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. The most common side effects were pain swelling and redness at the injection site and chills, tiredness, and headaches throughout the rest of the body. Clinal trial data shows that side effects (such as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache) were more common after the second dose of the vaccine.

Individuals vaccinated at the health departments drive-thru vaccination clinic are monitored for a short period of time after getting the shot to monitor for any reactions.