StarMed, other healthcare groups prepare while they wait for COVID-19 vaccine allocation

Local doctors officers prepare to get vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Right now, only major hospital systems and county health departments are getting sent doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

But once vaccine supply is expanded, many doctor’s offices might be your best spot for a vaccine. This means doctor’s offices and healthcare groups across Charlotte are busy preparing.

StarMed has tested more than 220,000 people, now they’re changing their focus a little bit.

“We hired all these people specifically for vaccination. They’re training now and are ready to go when they get the chance,” said Dr. Arin Piramzadian the Chief Medical Officer for StarMed.

Piramzadian says StarMed was approved by the state in January to receive allocations of the vaccine but because supply is low, they haven’t received it yet. Currently vaccine allocation is being prioritized to county health departments and larger hospital systems in North Carolina.

But the low supply hasn’t stopped StarMed from preparing for the eventual allocations of the vaccine. Its prep started in August when StarMed purchased six ultra-cold storage units. They say the storage can store 1.2 million doses of the vaccine.

But as of this week, Dr. Piramzadian isn’t sure when StarMed will receive any doses.

“We’re really not sure,” he said. “There’s not enough vaccine to go around, so we realize that we just have to wait our turn and we’re ready when our turn does come up. "

He knows StarMed will help vaccinate more people in the community who are in need and haven’t been able to get a vaccine yet. He said places like StarMed and other health care facilities will be critical once more people are eligible for the vaccine.

“Either you’re gonna be at the frontline of it, make difference or you’re going to be on the sidelines just watching and StarMed is going to be on the front lines,” he said.

Other offices like First Care Medical Clinic are preparing as well. They’re waiting on approval from the state to be a vaccination site. In the last weeks, First Care has made sure their facilities are ready and trained their staff on specific COVID-19 vaccine protocols. First Care could be approved in the next few weeks but it will likely be longer until they receive any vaccine doses.

“So we’re rocking and rolling and ready. We’re finishing up our training. Our facilities are ready to go. Our lab techs are trained,” said Wiliam Campbell, the director of communication for First Care Medical Clinic. “We’re eager to help get those shots in arms because you know, we’re seeing first hand what is happening when people get COVID.”

Right now neither office has doses on site but you can sign up for alerts and get on a pre-registration list on the StarMed website. You can also subscribe the First Care’s newsletter to receive the latest up to date information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Only groups 1 and 2 are eligible for the vaccine in North Carolina currently.

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