First COVID vaccines given to Onslow health workers

The Moderna vaccine was given to EMS and healthcare workers who regularly come in contact with people who may or may or not be COVID positive.
Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 6:45 PM EST
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The first doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine were given to county EMS and healthcare workers.

“It’s been a long nine months for everybody,” said Meghan Brown, a county paramedic, who was one of the first to receive the new vaccine, “I did this more for my dad. He’s a very high-risk person if he ever contracts this virus.”

The county received 1,000 doses of the new vaccine. It provides a 50 percent immunity in a first shot and an over 90 percent immunity in a second shot given just four weeks later.

The shot was given to the next phase of frontline workers Wednesday after hospital workers received Pfizer’s vaccine last week. This vaccine was given exclusively to workers who regularly come in contact with people who may or may not be COVID positive.

“We run 60 to 80, 911 calls a day,” said County EMS Director David Grovdahl, who was the first person in the county to receive the new vaccine,”Most of the time, we have no idea what we’re walking into. We may experience a COVID patient at a car wreck. We may experience them at their residence. They may know they have COVID. They may not. For our crews, every day is an unknown. Every call is an unknown.”

For frontline workers, the vaccine is a light at the end of a very arduous, nine-month-long tunnel.

“It’s an act. We’re trying to stop something that has stopped the world,” said Brown. “If we can put a stop to it, then why not be a part of the chance?”

The Moderna vaccine needs to be administered again 28 days after an initial dose, compared to Pfizer’s vaccine, which began administration last week, which needs a second dose after 21 days.

The Moderna vaccine also does not need to be kept in temperatures that are as freezing as the Pfizer vaccine, making it more ideal for agencies outside of hospitals that may not have the tools needed to keep it at those cold temperatures.

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