Covid-19 | Health News

“I feel like to protect myself, protect my family, I need to take the vaccine,” said Rosa Joyner, as she stopped by the Greenville Convention Center for her COVID-19 vaccination.

The 72-year-old lifelong eastern North Carolina resident was among the first in line at the large-scale vaccination clinic, organized by Vidant Health and the Pitt County Department of Health.

“I hope and pray that some other people will come to realize that this is what we need to do,” Joyner said. “We need to get this vaccine.”

Vidant teams have been working around the clock to prepare to vaccinate more than 4,000 people in the first week.

“We knew this was going to be a big deal, we knew we were going to need a lot of help and expertise to do it,” said Dan Drake, PhD, RN, president of Vidant Medical Group & Ambulatory Services.

“There is a lot of pride with being able to offer this to people who are vulnerable, and frail and at risk,” said Vidant Health Chief Experience Officer Julie Kennedy Oehlert, DNP, RN. “And none of us take it lightly.”

“Many of the patients that we have immunized have been so gracious; in fact, many of them have talked about it like it’s a life-saving intervention and for many of them it may be,” said Drake.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unprecedented, so is the defense against it.

“This is the largest mass vaccination effort in the history of humankind; it’s the largest public health intervention we have ever faced,” said Drake.

“We all stood and watched these people that we’ve been preparing for, for a couple of weeks – and we were just like, ‘Yay! You’re here. We’re here for you! You’re here, we’re here. Let’s do this!’” said Oehlert.

It’s a rallying cry for a region – and a dose of hope for the communities Vidant serves.

Joyner, for one, agrees: “It’s a blessing, it’s a blessing that we’ve got this.”