Pittsboro, NC — The Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) continued its efforts last week to get the Chatham County community vaccinated against COVID-19. These efforts included first and second dose vaccinations at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center (Ag Center) in Pittsboro on March 1st and second dose vaccinations at Roberts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Goldston on March 5th. The CCPHD will host a mass vaccination clinic at the Ag Center on Monday, March 8th, focusing on Groups 1, 2 and 3 of the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ prioritization guidance, including frontline essential workers.
Beginning March 12th, the CCPHD will partner with StarMed Healthcare on mass vaccination clinics at the Ag Center. StarMed will shadow the CCPHD’s operations at Monday’s clinic to ensure a smooth transition, at which the department is slated to administer approximately 700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. StarMed will take over mass vaccination clinic operations at the Ag Center beginning with an event Friday, March 12th.
“We have already been partnering with StarMed for several months as they conducted weekly COVID-19 testing events at multiple locations in the county,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek. “StarMed has been working with other counties in NC on vaccinations and we are excited about this new stage of our partnership. This will allow mass vaccination clinics to continue and expand as supplies allow, while increasing capacity for our team to ramp up efforts to reach priority populations, including marginalized communities, that often face barriers to accessing healthcare including vaccinations. It is a necessary and important next step as we continue this critical work.”
Individuals who received first-dose vaccinations from the CCPHD at the Ag Center will still receive their second-dose vaccinations at the same date, time, and location as it was scheduled. There is no need to confirm appointments, as the CCPHD will coordinate scheduling with StarMed for these events to ensure appointments continue as planned. The CCPHD will also work with StarMed to schedule first-dose appointments for individuals who are in the CCPHD’s vaccine database, including those who entered their information on the online Vaccine Interest Tool or COVID Vaccine Info Line (919-545-8323). The CCPHD will transfer some of its vaccine allocation to StarMed each week for these mass vaccination events, including second-dose vaccines.
A full Frequently Asked Questions document on the CCPHD-StarMed partnership is available on the Chatham County website: https://www.chathamcountync.gov/home/showpublisheddocument?id=54619.
The CCPHD will ramp up equity-focused efforts to reach communities across Chatham County to ensure all residents have access to vaccinations and information about the vaccine. Staff have worked with community partners on a number of outreach events to date, including recent vaccinations at Roberts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Goldston.
“Local public health has an important role to play in COVID-19 vaccinations, not just as a provider but also in sharing factual information and connecting residents to resources in and around Chatham County. This requires community partnerships and intentional, equity-driven effort to reach those who may be missed through traditional channels, including marginalized communities,” added Zelek.
According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) COVID-19 vaccination database, 16,548 Chatham County residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through March 5th, accounting for 22.2% of the county’s population. Additionally, 10,868 Chatham residents have received their second dose, representing 14.6% of the population. Both of these percentages are among the highest in the state.
New Vaccine Given an EUA
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave an Emergency Use Authorization to a COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on February 27, 2021. This is the third COVID-19 vaccine given an EUA from the FDA, along with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
While shipments of the Johnson & Johnson, or Janssen, vaccine have been made to some providers in North Carolina, mainly large healthcare systems, the CCPHD is not scheduled to receive any doses of this new vaccine in March. The CCPHD has only received allocations of the Moderna vaccine to date.
“We are excited about another option for vaccinating Chatham County against COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread,” said Zelek. “In receiving Emergency Use Authorization, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been recognized as another safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19. It is also a one-dose vaccine, which we know appeals to some. Should we receive allocations in the future, we will use them accordingly and in line with NC DHHS guidance.”
To learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, visit https://www.chathamcountync.gov/services/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-vaccine/about-the-covid-19-vaccine/.
The CCPHD continues to encourage all eligible Chatham residents to consider all options to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers include:
- Piedmont Health Services is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to existing and new patients at its clinic sites in Siler City and Moncure as supply allows. To be placed on PHS’ interest list, please visit https://piedmonthealth.org/how-can-i-be-tested-for-covid19/. Piedmont is also continuing to conduct COVID-19 testing events.
- UNC Health is offering the COVID-19 vaccination for individuals ages 65 and older, including at its site behind Chatham Hospital in Siler City (Medical Office Building) and nearby options such as Chapel Hill. Interested individuals can visit www.unchealthcare.org/schedule or call (984) 215-5485 to schedule an appointment when available.
- Walgreens, which has multiple locations in and around Chatham County. Visit https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19.
- Siler City Pharmacy: To request a vaccination appointment, visit https://silercitypharmacy.com/vaccine-appointments/ or call (919) 663-5541.
- Duke Health, based in Durham, is also scheduling vaccinations when available. To learn more, visit https://www.dukehealth.org/covid-19-update/covid-19-vaccine-update or call (919) 385-0429.
- For a full list of options in North Carolina, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/findyourspot.
Like the rest of North Carolina, Chatham County is seeing a decrease in positive tests for COVID-19. But the department continues to urge all residents to continue to practice the same methods that have been found to be successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19: wearing a face covering in public or when around people not in your household, washing your hands frequently and maintaining six feet of social distance from others.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the CCPHD’s vaccination plans, visit www.chathamcountync.gov/coronavirusvaccine. To learn more about the Chatham County Public Health Department, please visit www.chathamcountync.gov/publichealth or www.facebook.com/chathamhealth.