Pittsboro, NC – Mike Zelek, Chatham County Public Health Director, has issued the following update on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine in the county:
“The Chatham County Public Health Department has received a great deal of interest in the COVID-19 vaccine over the last several days, and we are encouraged to see so many are ready to roll up their sleeves. This process is in its early stages, and it will take several months to get the vaccine to all who want it.
“We continue to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to members of Phase 1a, according to the state’s prioritization guidance. This group includes health care workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19 and those supporting vaccine efforts. At the same time, we are compiling a list of individuals in Phase 1b, group 1 (adults aged 75 or older) who want the vaccine. To be added to this list, visit www.chathamnc.org/vaccinetool and complete the form. Additionally, we will be sharing a COVID-19 vaccine hotline for Chatham County shortly.
“We are beginning to schedule appointments with those on this list who qualify under Phase 1b, group 1. This process will take several weeks to reach all interested due to limited resources, and we appreciate your patience. We will also be working with other vaccine providers to get this group vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“CCPHD will be conducting these vaccinations by appointment only, due to limited supply of doses and to avoid crowds that may lead to spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and the last thing we want is to risk infection when individuals get their vaccine. Those receiving the vaccine will have the opportunity to ask questions and must give their consent before vaccine administration.
“CCPHD is also planning vaccination clinics to allow many to be vaccinated on the same day in central locations within Chatham County. Details on those events are still being worked out, and relevant information will be shared when the time comes. Please keep in mind these events are only open to those with appointments.
We are grateful to the Chatham community and the many partners who have supported the overall pandemic response and now these vaccination efforts. To reach those age 75 and older in the county, we are collaborating with the Chatham County Council on Aging and appreciate their partnership and expertise. I am also personally grateful for the hard work of our dedicated staff — we could not respond to this pandemic and take on the incredible task of distributing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine without their tireless efforts. If you see or talk to one of them, please thank them.
“We have been updating our vaccine webpage, as new information becomes available. Here, residents can find facts about the vaccine, stay up to date on what phase Chatham County is in and take a community survey to provide input about the vaccine from community members.
“Continue to follow our website and Facebook page to stay informed on the vaccination process and other news about the vaccine and COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, please stay safe. Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, issued a Secretarial Directive on Wednesday urging residents to take immediate action to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
“Dr. Cohen emphasized, and we echo, the following actions that individuals can take to curb the spread of COVID-19, which is at an all-time high: wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others, don’t go to indoor public places where masks are not worn and social distancing is not practiced, stay at home as much as possible and avoid gatherings with individuals with whom you do not live. The full directive can be found here.
“With vaccination efforts ramping up, our capacity to carry out other response efforts like case investigations and contact tracing is very limited. We will follow state guidance in shifting resources from these activities to vaccination efforts. This makes it that much more important for all to follow these steps to curb the spread of COVID-19, which is surging across North Carolina.
“Stay safe, Chatham County. While the news of the vaccine is exciting, we are still a long way from getting the vaccine to everyone who wants it. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and remember to #ShareLoveNotCOVID.”