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Brunswick County Health Services administered its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Brunswick County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel Tuesday morning. The department is also working with internal and external partners to vaccinate individuals within local law enforcement, fire/rescue teams, Health Services and other medical providers eligible under Phase 1a.

Health Services received a first shipment of 200 doses of the vaccine and official instructions from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to proceed with vaccinations this week. Health Services is in regular communication with the NCDHHS on the coordination of future shipments, which are expected in the coming weeks.

Individuals who received the Moderna vaccine Tuesday will return for a second dose in about four weeks.

Following the State’s vaccination plan for Phase 1a, Brunswick County’s first shipment(s) of doses went to health care workers providing direct care to COVID-19 patients and/or who are treating COVID-19 related symptoms. Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine this past week and Dosher Memorial Hospital received a shipment of the Moderna vaccine this week, as well.

Staff and residents at long-term care facilities are also eligible for COVID-19 vaccines under Phase 1a. Health Services is in regular communication these facilities on their vaccine preparations and is reaching out to assisted living and adult day care sites in the county to discuss and provide assistance in their vaccination planning.

Most skilled nursing facilities in the county have already enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens. These pharmacies are anticipated to start vaccinating staff and residents at these facilities starting Monday, Dec. 28.

Both the county and state are currently in Phase 1a of a four-phase plan to distribute the vaccine. Vaccine supplies will be limited at first, which is why independent state and federal public health advisory committees determined that the best way to fight COVID-19 is to start with vaccinations for those most at risk, reaching more people as the vaccine supply increases from January to June.

Health Services will work closely with the municipalities, hospitals, senior centers, faith-based organizations, and the media to communicate with residents when the vaccine is available and what phase of the distribution plan is under way.

Health Services will also update our website with the latest information on vaccines including answers to frequently asked questions at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/vaccines/

More information from the NCDHHS on vaccines is also at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines

For additional questions, contact Health Services through the Brunswick County Public Health Call Line and email (available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.):

Individuals can also follow the County’s social media and sign up for emails on COVID-19 through our Sunshine List at http://brunswickcountync.gov/info/email/

It is essential that we all continue practicing the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait six feet apart, wash your hands—for the next several months as we work toward vaccinating the general public. These are still the best tools we have to combat the virus as we await our respective phase for vaccination and while experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions.

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PHASES

When the phases begin, the vaccination schedule will be staggered in prioritized settings, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities, at intervals of 24-48 hours. This allows multiple people to be vaccinated at once without impacting staffing at those settings.

PHASE 1A (CURRENT PHASE)
  • Every health care worker at high risk for exposure to COVID-19—includes doctors, nurses, and all who interact and care for patients with COVID-19, including those who clean areas used by patients, and those giving vaccines to these workers.
  • Long-Term Care staff and residents—includes people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes.
PHASE 1B
  • Adults with two or more chronic conditions that put them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC, including conditions like cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes, among others.
  • Adults at high risk of exposure, including essential frontline workers (police, food processing, teachers), health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, migrant and fishery housing with two or more chronic conditions.
  • Those working in prisons, jails and homeless shelters (no chronic conditions requirement).
PHASE 2
  • Essential frontline workers, health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters or migrant and fishery housing.
  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Adults under 65 with one chronic condition that puts them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC.
PHASE 3
  • College and university students.
  • K-12 students when there is an approved vaccine for children.
  • Those employed in jobs that are critical to society and at lower risk of exposure.
PHASE 4
  • Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.

Visit our webpage for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines in Brunswick County at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/vaccines/