Greenville, NC – Sept. 3, 2021 – Moderately or severely immunocompromised community members can now schedule a third dose COVID-19 vaccine appointment through Vidant Health by calling 252-847-8000 or by visiting VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate. A third dose may prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 in immunocompromised people who may not have responded to their initial vaccine series.

Vidant Health is closely following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance to provide third doses to eligible community members. Appointments can be scheduled at Vidant Health clinics and oncology practices throughout the region for immunocompromised, eligible community members who meet the below criteria:

  • You’ve had an organ or stem cell transplant
  • You’re receiving chemotherapy, other treatment for cancer or tumors, taking biologic agents (Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, etc.), taking high doses of prednisone, or taking similar drugs. Many of these drugs are used for treatment of cancer, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriasis.
  • You have a disease that weakens your immune system (like HIV or a primary immune system disease)
  • Your doctor told you that you’re immunosuppressed

The third dose is recommended for immunocompromised individuals at least 28 days after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and is not recommended for those who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Vidant Health is following CDC guidance and is not currently offering additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time. Please continue checking back to VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate for the latest information on Vidant’s vaccine efforts.

Covid-19 | Press Releases

Local data

We continue to see a similarly troubling trend in our region, with COVID-positive hospitalizations in the Vidant Health system rising from 43 on July 17 to 169 on Aug. 30.

Dr. Leigh Patterson, an emergency medicine physician at Vidant Medical Center (VMC) and ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, spoke to the media on Aug. 30 to address the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We are currently seeing record numbers of patients presenting to the emergency department seeking care,” Dr. Patterson said. “We are seeing record numbers of children, more children than we have seen at any point in the pandemic up until now.”

Dr. Ogugua Obi, a critical care physician at VMC and Brody School of Medicine, said the burden of care on hospital team members is immense in the current state of COVID-19 but hospital staff continues to show up and care for a region.

“We have an excellent team of physicians and nurses – our teams are excellent, they’re first-class,” Dr. Obi said. “They’re doing all that they can to take care of our critically ill patients, but we are exhausted. We are seeing more death and suffering in our ICUs than we have ever seen before.”

The data continues to show that the vaccines are effective at lessening the severity and impact of this virus.

On Aug. 29, 87 percent of those hospitalized in a Vidant hospital were not vaccinated. Of those in the Vidant system on Aug. 29, 45 COVID-positive patients were in the ICU with 21 on ventilators. Only two of those patients on ventilators were fully vaccinated. Vidant has had no patients hospitalized due to reactions from the vaccine. The vaccine is available to everyone age 12 and older and appointments can be found at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Safety, as of Aug. 30, 65 percent of North Carolinians 18 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 60 percent are fully vaccinated.

Get vaccinated today

Dr. Obi asked that everyone do their part to help slow this pandemic and take a COVID-19 vaccine if you are able.

“We know the vaccines are safe, we know the vaccines are effective and the vaccines are very readily available here in eastern North Carolina,” Dr. Obi said. “Please take the vaccine. Take the vaccine to protect yourself, take the vaccine to protect your family, take the vaccine to protect your loved ones, take the vaccine to protect our staff, take the vaccine to protect our nurses, take the vaccine to protect our physicians.  Help us take care of all of eastern North Carolina.”

Dr. Matthew Ledoux, a pediatrician at VMC and Brody School of Medicine, reiterated messages that have been important to slowing the spread of COVID-19 since the very beginning of community spread:

Watch a recap of Monday’s press conference:

Covid-19

VMC President Brian Floyd discusses COVID-19 during an August 2021 press conference.

As of Aug. 18, there were 2,930 COVID-positive hospitalizations in North Carolina. This is up from 623 just one month ago—a 370 percent increase. In addition, Aug. 17 had the highest COVID-related ED visits across the state since the pandemic started in early 2020.

Local data

We continue to see a similarly-troubling trend in our region, with hospitalizations in the Vidant Health system rising from 34 on July 17 to more than 123 on Aug. 17. The 29 counties Vidant serves are currently the highest in the state for the seven-day moving average for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“We were in a pretty good place,” Vidant Chief Medical Officer Dr. Niti Armistead said. “The transmission had slowed down, more and more people were getting vaccinated and protected, hospitalization days started to really come down, number of cases started to come down and many of us thought we were just in the last leg of this marathon. What changed was the vaccination rates just hit a wall.”

The data continues to show that the vaccines are effective at lessening the severity and impact of this virus.

On Aug. 16, 91 percent of those hospitalized in a Vidant hospital were not vaccinated. Of those in the Vidant system on Aug. 15, 36 COVID-positive patients were in the ICU with 22 on ventilators. Only one of those patients was fully vaccinated. Vidant has had no patients hospitalized due to reactions from the vaccine. The vaccine is available to everyone age 12 and older and appointments can be found at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Safety, as of Aug. 20, 64 percent of North Carolinians 18 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 59 percent are fully vaccinated. For eastern North Carolina, those numbers drop to 56 percent with at least one dose and 51 percent fully vaccinated.

Get vaccinated today

Chief of Adult Medical Services at Vidant Medical Center (VMC) Dr. Paul Bolin said the demographics of those coming to the hospital with COVID-19 are skewing younger than at any other time during the pandemic. Bolin, who also serves as the chair of the department of medicine at Brody School of Medicine, compared getting the vaccine to wearing a seatbelt in a car and said your chances of surviving COVID with the vaccine are 25 fold better than without.

“I think the most important thing to understand is this,” Dr. Bolin said. “There have been a very small number of complications from the vaccine. That is a one-time event that occurs after the vaccination. Your risk of dying from COVID if you’re not vaccinated continues day after day after day after day until this pandemic is over.”

VMC President and Vidant COO Brian Floyd hosted a press conference recently to discuss the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, especially as we experience another surge in cases and hospitalizations.

“Take care of your loved ones, take care of your community and help us take care of this team that’s been here for the public for the last year and a half looking out for their interests,” Floyd said. “It’s a personal choice we make on a mask or vaccine or whatever, but it is a public impact. You are making that choice on behalf of more than you – you’re making it on behalf of people.”

Floyd reiterated messages that have been important to slowing the spread of COVID-19 since the very beginning of community spread:

Learn more about Vidant’s COVID-19 efforts in recent interviews with Public Radio East and WNCT.

Covid-19

Greenville, NC – Aug. 12, 2021 – As Vidant Health continues to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic across North Carolina, we are taking steps to ensure the safety of all. Vidant remains vigilant with its screening process for all visitors, entry requirements and visitor restrictions by department.

In response to increased community spread and the heightened risk of hospitalization posed by the Delta variant, all Vidant Health hospitals are adjusting visitation policy in the Emergency Department. To ensure the safety of patients, families and team members, effective 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 13, visitors will not be allowed in the ED lobby or waiting areas at hospitals across Vidant’s system. ED patients can have one healthy adult visitor screened and masked at all times once the patient has been placed into a room, as long as the patient is not COVID positive.

It remains vitally important that community members continue to practice safety measures such as washing hands, wearing a mask and avoiding large gatherings.

Learn more about visitation at VidantHealth.com/VisitingVidant.

Covid-19 | Press Releases

Vidant Medical Center exterior

Greenville, NC – Aug. 11, 2021 – As Vidant Health continues to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic across North Carolina, we are taking steps to ensure the safety of all. Vidant remains vigilant with its screening process for all visitors, entry requirements and visitor restrictions by department.

Vidant Medical Center exterior

In response to increased community spread and the heightened risk of hospitalization posed by the Delta variant, Vidant Medical Center is adjusting its visitation policy in the Emergency Department. To ensure the safety of patients, families and team members, effective 7 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, visitors will not be allowed in the ED lobby or waiting areas. ED patients can have one healthy adult visitor screened and masked at all times once the patient has been placed into a room, as long as the patient is not COVID positive.

It remains vitally important that community members continue to practice safety measures such as washing hands, wearing a mask and avoiding large gatherings.

See the full list of visitation restrictions at Vidant Medical Center here and learn more at VidantHealth.com/VisitingVidant

Covid-19 | Press Releases

A community member receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 continues to evolve and expand its grip across the country and here in eastern North Carolina.

“This is one of the most diabolical viruses I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Paul Bolin, chief of Adult Medical Services at Vidant Medical Center, and the chair of the Department of Medicine at Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

“We were in a good place. Transmission had slowed down, more and more people were getting vaccinated and protected, hospitalization days started to really come down, number of cases started to come down – and many of us thought we were in the last leg of this marathon,” said Dr. Niti Armistead, chief medical officer for Vidant Health. “What changed was the vaccination rates just hit a wall.”

“In North Carolina, in the past three to four weeks, we have seen a tripling in the number of cases, and in the number of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Bolin. “We’re seeing the same things as we did last fall and winter, but it’s in a much younger and much healthier population.”

Another difference now – we have a vaccine.

“It’s like wearing your seatbelt – your chances of being in an automobile accident are very low, but your chances of surviving that with a seatbelt are much greater,” said Dr. Bolin. “Your chance of surviving COVID are 25 fold better with the vaccine than without it.”

Even still – roughly half of the country remains unvaccinated, enabling the virus to mutate and variants to cause an increase in infections and complications.

“The virus didn’t slow down just because our vaccination rates dropped,” said Dr. Armistead.

Experts say most concerns about the vaccine don’t outweigh the risk of being unprotected.

“I think the most important thing to understand is this: there have been some very small number of complications from the vaccine. And that is a one-time event that occurs after the vaccination,” said Dr. Bolin. “Your risk of dying from COVID if you’re not vaccinated continues day after day after day after day, until this pandemic is over with.”

Vidant Health has appointments available for anyone eligible to receive the vaccine. Visit www.VidantHealth.com/vaccinate and schedule yours today.

Covid-19 | Featured | Health News

A COVID-19 vaccine is prepared for distribution.

The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines brought great hope in the battle against the deadly pandemic that has affected our way of life for nearly a year and a half. Now, more than 7 months into the largest vaccination effort in history, the data and science is clear: the vaccines are effective, but only if people get their “dose of hope”.

The continued spread of the virus and the arrival of new variants is an urgent reminder that this pandemic is not over yet, and that we still have to assure vaccination for everyone to protect our communities. Right now, the Delta variant is quickly becoming the dominant virus variant. We know that this variant is easily spread and has many of the same devastating health impacts as previous variants. We also know that the vaccines are highly effective at both preventing the spread of the virus and drastically reducing the impact on those it infects.

It was not long ago that some hospitals around the country celebrated having zero COVID-19 patients in their Intensive Care Units. Doctors, nurses and other staff rejoiced at this welcomed respite. Here at Vidant, we never quite got to zero, but our numbers hit a new low in the spring. Now, hospitalizations are back on the rise and nearly all hospitalized COVID-19 patients – many of whom are battling for their lives – are unvaccinated.

As we have continued to learn more and more about this virus over the past year and a half, we can confidently say that ending up hospitalized with serious complications from COVID-19 is mostly avoidable now. The vaccines are safe, effective and widely available at local hospitals, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and more.

We can still see the light at the end of the tunnel but the Delta variant is dimming our view. Help us end this pandemic by receiving your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible by visiting VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate or by calling 252-847-8000.

Covid-19 | Editorial | Featured | Health News

Charlsie Woodard, a nurse practitioner and hospitalist at the East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center, stands with Tracy Glover, a COVID-19 survivor.

“I just had a cough, and when I started running a fever, I knew something was off,” said Tracy Glover, referring to how he felt in March of 2020.

Glover’s illness coincided with the early days of a new virus affecting people around the world.

“From the time I was diagnosed with COVID, to the time that I was intubated, became a blur,” said Glover.

In all, Glover spent 18 days at Vidant Medical Center – and nearly five of those on a ventilator.

“The concern when I first met him, I’m thinking, ‘Ok we’ve got a young, early 50’s gentleman who fits the profile of the person that should not survive,’” said Charlsie Woodard, a nurse practitioner and hospitalist at the East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center.

Woodard was one member of a large care team at Vidant involved in Tracy’s care, with her enthusiasm leaving a lasting impression.

“To have her come in and encourage me, push me and to give me goals, really meant a lot,” said Glover.

And so on the year anniversary of Glover’s discharge, he celebrated the occasion by making good on a promise to give Woodard a hug, in gratitude for the care he received.

“I’m glad to be here,” said Glover. “Because without the support and prayers of my family, and the great care of the staff here at Vidant, I would not have recovered as well as I did.”

“I feel like I was the calvary,” said Woodard. “So many people had taken such good care of him before I met him, and I just got to wean his oxygen and be a cheerleader and help him get home.”

A shared experience bringing forth recovery and reflection.

“He’s a COVID win, and that’s what we would call him,” said Woodard. “It’s a COVID win.”

“It really does change your perspective on life itself,” said Glover. “How every breath is not a guarantee, it’s just another opportunity.”

Covid-19 | Health News

Brian Floyd vaccinates a community member in Greenville.

Audio courtesy of WPTM-FM – Byrne Radio (Roanoke Rapids)

Dr. Kenneth Robert, Vidant family physician

Dr. Kenneth Robert, Vidant family physician

COVID-19 has been devastating to our communities in eastern North Carolina from the small businesses that have closed to all of the loved ones we have lost. The vaccine is the best tool that we have to move past the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Robert said that the measures we took to slow the pandemic, like wearing masks and social distancing, were effective. Now, with a vaccine in hand we have a proven safe way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Right now we have vaccines that have been tested and have been deemed safe,” Dr. Robert said. “Taking the vaccine would truly help to really overcome the devastation that the pandemic is causing throughout eastern North Carolina, the United States and the world.”

Vidant Health has vaccinated many people across eastern North Carolina and efforts are ongoing to reach community members who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vidant still has COVID-19 vaccine clinics open throughout eastern North Carolina.

“We’re trying to get to as many people as we can,” Dr. Robert said. “We’re really trying to get the word out that the vaccines are available. In the early days it was somewhat difficult to get a vaccine… At this point in time, that is not the case. We have vaccines available for most anyone.”

Dr. Robert stressed that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. While side effects do occur for some people after receiving the vaccine, they are typically very minor.

As we look to a more hopeful future, receiving your vaccine is the best way to fight this pandemic, not only for yourself, but for those you love.

He also said the faster we can get people in the community vaccinated, the faster we can get back to living comfortably without the worry of infecting others with COVID-19.

If you have any questions regarding the vaccine, please contact your trusted doctor. To make your vaccine appointment, visit Vidanthealth.com/Vaccinate or call 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Covid-19 | Health News

COVID-19 vaccines are prepared in a clinic

The new location will initially be open Monday-Friday and can accommodate up to 350 vaccine appointments per day. Vidant may adjust days and hours of operations for the clinic based on demand. Appointments are required and are already available at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate or by calling 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

The Convention Center clinic will pause operations from April 7-12 due to an event hosted at the Convention Center. The Convention Center clinic will re-open April 13 to complete already-scheduled second doses only and will permanently close after all scheduled second doses are complete.

Effective April 8 and until further notice, all new doses in Greenville will be given at the Vidant Greenville Vaccine Clinic on Arlington Boulevard.

Although the vaccine offers great hope, Vidant encourages everyone to do their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. Those who receive the vaccine should still practice these important safety measures.

Visit VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate for more information.

Covid-19 | Health News