Iredell Health System vaccinates more than 2,600, more planned in coming weeks

Iredell Health System vaccinates more than 2,600, more planned in coming weeks
(Source: KAIT 8)

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Iredell Health System has officially administered more than 2,600 COVID-19 vaccinations.

Many of those have already received their second dose and an additional 1,300 are slated to be vaccinated between Wednesday and Saturday.

Over the coming weeks and months, the nonprofit Health System will hold vaccine clinics multiple days each week in an effort to vaccinate as many individuals as possible.

The organization is currently vaccinating those who meet the state of North Carolina’s eligibility requirements for Phase 1A and Phase 1B - Group 1, by appointment and invitation only.

“We are working with local healthcare entities, community groups, corporations and many others within the communities we serve to help identify eligible individuals to invite to be vaccinated and to do so equitably,” said John Green, President & CEO of Iredell Health System, adding that those individuals have been or will be contacted by Health System representatives with instructions on how to schedule a vaccine appointment. “While this is a challenging time for healthcare, we are happy to be a part of such a momentous effort to help stop this pandemic.”

As of Wednesday, NCDHHS has only authorized frontline healthcare workers and individuals ages 75 and older to receive the vaccine.

Other groups with different eligibility requirements are expected to be able to be vaccinated in the coming weeks, but the Health System will retain its policy on vaccinating by appointment and invitation only.

“We are the only organization in Iredell County with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which is given in two doses, approximately 21 days apart. The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage and special handling to prepare, including allowing time for the vaccine to thaw before it is administered. It’s very important to us that we do not waste any of the vaccines we have been given,” said Larry Pizzorni, Assistant Vice President of Ancillary and Support Services for Iredell Health System, who is overseeing the organization’s vaccine workgroup responsible for running its vaccine clinics. “We have been working tirelessly to plan and run these clinics, and we are happy to say that the process we have in place is working well.”

Two prominent, retired businessmen — Mason McCullough and William Merlin Jones, Jr. — were among the attendees of Saturday’s clinic.

“I know people that I know very well who have had COVID and passed away from it,” McCullough said. “I wanted to make sure that if there was anything I could do, I’d do it,” he said, adding that he initially was hesitant about getting the vaccine and planned to wait until much later. He changed his mind after speaking with a friend who is a nurse practitioner, and watching other healthcare workers jump at the chance to be vaccinated. “I looked around and I saw a lot of people being affected by COVID, and I had to reason within myself: ‘If the initial people getting the shots are healthcare workers, if the people taking care of me if I get sick are getting it, why should I be worried?’ I knew I needed to do this.”

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