Appointment information for eligible community members:
Beginning 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22, community members can view appointment availability by conveniently visiting VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate. The online appointment scheduler is the fastest and most convenient way to view and schedule an appointment. If internet access is not available or special assistance is required, community members may call 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.. Due to large call volumes, community members are encouraged to only use this number if necessary.
Appointment information for those on the Pitt County Health Department Wait List:
A majority of the appointment slots in the initial phase will be allocated for the more than 8,000 people on the Pitt County Health Department wait list. Those already on the health department’s wait list will be directly contacted in the coming days and weeks by either email or phone. Individuals who are on the wait list are encouraged to check their email regularly and answer calls from a phone number beginning with 252-902. The Pitt County Health Department will stop accepting new wait list submissions effective today, Thursday, Jan. 21.
Vidant serves a region of 1.4 million people and appointments are expected to fill up quickly. The public is encouraged to be patient as it is expected to take months to vaccinate eligible community members. The initial goal is to administer more than 4,000 vaccines per week depending on the state’s vaccine allocations. Vidant and Pitt County will adjust appointment slots as needed, depending on vaccine allocations and other resources.
Vidant is also collaborating with other health departments and ECU to rapidly open more vaccine clinics across the region.
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. Importantly, a high number of COVID-19 patients are relying on Vidant for care and our team members are not immune from community spread. Please do your part to protect yourself and those around you.
Community members can visit VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate to view appointment availability, stay up to date on Vidant’s vaccine efforts and sign up for email updates.
Vidant Health and the Pitt County Health Department will open a large-scale vaccine site on Monday, Jan. 25 to eligible community members as defined by the state of North Carolina.
The large-scale vaccine site will be open to eligible community members throughout eastern North Carolina at the Greenville Convention Center on Monday, Jan. 25. Appointments will be required for eligible community members and scheduling details will be announced in the coming days.
The public is encouraged to be patient as it will take some time to get all of those eligible vaccinated. The initial goal is to administer more than 4,000 vaccines per week depending on the state’s vaccine allocations.
“This is a historic moment for Vidant, Pitt County and eastern North Carolina, as we work together to bring hope to our community,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, chief executive officer of Vidant Health. “Vidant has spent the last year responding to this pandemic in tremendous ways and this is the next chapter as we bring safety and healing to the East. Vidant has full confidence in the vaccines and we are fully committed to working with our partners to launch and operate the largest vaccine effort in the history of the region. We are also committed to continuing our efforts to get the vaccine to all of the communities we care for and serve.”
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. Importantly, a high-number of COVID-19 patients are relying on Vidant for care and our team members are not immune from community spread. Please do your part to protect yourself and those around you.
Community members can visit VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate to stay up to date on Vidant’s vaccines efforts and sign up for email updates.
Starting Friday, Jan. 8, Vidant began vaccinating community members 75 and older in Phase 1b, group 1, as outlined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). Vidant continues to identify and directly contact eligible high-risk individuals through community partners, as well as its patient database MyChart, in the initial launch of Phase 1b, group 1.
This initial approach is only the first step in making the vaccine more broadly available to eligible community members. Though the first wave of community vaccines are being administered in Greenville, Vidant will announce its plans to expand its efforts to vaccinate high-risk individuals throughout the East in the coming weeks.
As a reminder, NCDHHS provides allocations to local health departments and health systems with requirements to vaccinate eligible groups per its COVID-19 vaccine plan. The amount Vidant receives will determine the number of individuals we can vaccinate; so please know that efforts to vaccinate community members could take months.
As a leader in the East, Vidant is working collaboratively with our community partners throughout the region, including local health departments, ECU and area providers to ensure we can efficiently serve our community.
Vidant has full confidence in the vaccines. Before receiving FDA emergency use authorization approval, the COVID-19 vaccines went through rigorous testing and trials to prove they are safe and effective prior to distribution.
The vaccine offers great hope in the fight against COVID-19; protect yourself and your loved ones and #HelpUsENC by getting vaccinated when eligible, continuing to mask, social distance and wash hands.
Vidant officials say that the surge capacity plan includes creating additional bed capacity.
The hospital system continues to ask the community to help aid in slowing the spread of the virus.
“Our team members are not immune to community spread and we need them to be healthy in order to care for the community. We continue to ask everyone to do their part to help stop the spread: avoid gatherings, wash hands often and wear a mask,” Vidant Health said in a statement.
The hospital system said it is currently treating 218 COVID-19 patients.
On Monday, Vidant said its virus testing site processed 1,300 collections, the most to date.
The system says that positivity rates remain high and are currently about 20%.
Vidant Health statement on surge capacity:
“Vidant Health continues to see a high census of COVID-19 patients across the system, including at Vidant Medical Center. In response to increased community spread, Vidant Medical Center limited the hours of visitation and has begun to enact its surge capacity plans to ensure we can continue to provide care for those we serve, including creating additional bed capacity. We have taken these measures to ensure we are able to continue providing care to those we serve. Importantly, although COVID is a factor affecting capacity, other non-COVID related care is also driving higher numbers of patients at the hospital. Our care teams are dedicated to providing care to those we serve, but they need the community’s help. Our team members are not immune to community spread and we need them to be healthy in order to care for the community. We continue to ask everyone to do their part to help stop the spread: avoid gatherings, wash hands often and wear a mask.”
“I am a planner and I am living the unexpected. It’s like nothing – it’s nothing you could ever study for,” said Lillian Wooten, a staff nurse at Vidant Medical Center. “Everything I learned in nursing school, out the window.”
Wooten joined Vidant last summer – in the middle of a pandemic.
“I think that’s what brings me back,” Wooten said, “hoping to make a difference.”
She’s spent nearly every day since joining caring for COVID-19 patients. Now, she’s catching a break as another nursing unit at Vidant Medical Center has volunteered to tag in so Wooten and her team could step away.
“We offered a respite for them for four weeks and we are hoping it will help them enjoy the holidays a little bit better with their families,” said Tracy Hobbs, assistant nurse manager in 3 East at Vidant Medical Center.
Hobbs and fellow nurses who serve the 3 East unit at Vidant Medical Center have stepped in to care for COVID patients on the Medical Step Down Unit (MSU) for a four-week period during this holiday season. This will allow the nurses on MSU to rest, rejuvenate and reconnect with their loved ones.
It’s a welcome change of pace and the embodiment of Vidant’s values.
“We know that when the call is made that we are going to go, and help,” Hobbs said.
As these teams support one another they also hope the communities Vidant serves do their part too.
“Wear your mask, social distance, love from afar,” Hobbs said. “I think it’s important to remember that this is not going away and it actually is getting worse.”
Remember to follow COVID-19 protocols – wash your hands frequently, maintain a social distance from others and wear a mask when in public.
“If you could just come, sit and see how hard it is for some patients to even breathe,” Wooten said. “Something so little as wearing a mask, I know it’s uncomfortable but—it could save someone’s life.”
In Phase 1, the following Vidant team members and other community health care providers will be among the first to be offered the vaccine: Health care workers and first responders who are caring for a COVID or “very likely” COVID patient and those highest at-risk for infection or severe illness.
“The vaccine offers incredible hope for our health care workers, families, friends, neighbors and the world,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO, Vidant Health. “While this is a monumental step in overcoming the pandemic, we do not yet know when the vaccine will be available to the broader community. It remains vitally important that the community helps us stop the spread now by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands often. We need your help.”
Vidant has full confidence in the products that have come to market and highly advocates that the public get vaccinated when the vaccines are available to the general public. Furthermore, Vidant is ready and available to partner with state agencies as plans for vaccine deployment evolve over the next few months.
Medical professionals at Vidant Health say lung cancer is the second most common cancer across the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer death. On average, about 13 people in North Carolina die from lung cancer every day. Doctors say one of the best steps you can take to protect yourself is to know your risks.
Smokers are at high risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer, but it’s not uncommon for non-smokers to be diagnosed, too. Experts say secondhand smoke and gas in your home can also play a factor. Doctors say it’s important to get tested for radon in your home because that is the second leading cause of lung cancer, especially in non-smokers.
Researchers estimate secondhand smoke contributes to about 7,300 cancer diagnoses and radon to about 2,900.
Other substances that could increase your exposure to cancer include asbestos, arsenic, nickel and chromium.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task force recommends yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scan for people who have a history of heavy smoking (at least a 30 pack year smoking history-packs per day times number of years smoked), smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years and are between 55-80 years old.
If you believe you may be at risk or meet the requirements, talk to your primary care provider about getting a screening. For more information or if you do not have a primary care provider, call the Prevention Clinic at Vidant Cancer Care at (252) 816-7475.