Atrium Health Stanly expected to receive doses of Moderna vaccine
In the battle against the coronavirus, help will soon be arriving for Stanly County.
Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which was recently approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, will be sent to Atrium Health Stanly sometime in the “next few weeks,” according to Dr. Lewis McCurdy, infectious disease specialist at Atrium Health in Charlotte, who spoke to local reporters during a Zoom call on Monday.
He said that Atrium has identified three smaller facilities near Charlotte — Atrium Health Stanly, along with Atrium Health Kings Mountain and Atrium Health Anson — to receive the vaccine.
“We’ve got several thousand doses of the Moderna vaccine that we anticipate giving out to more of our rural facilities,” McCurdy said.
It’s not yet clear how many doses Atrium Health Stanly will initially receive or when the first shipment will arrive.
Unlike doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to quickly be placed in ultra-cold freezers, the Moderna vaccine can be kept in standard freezers, which logistically makes it easier to transport to the smaller hospitals.
McCurdy said Atrium does have protocols in place for hospitals to follow when receiving the Moderna vaccine “to make sure that the vaccine is handled appropriately.”
Atrium Health received 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has been clinically proven to be safe and 94 percent effective, according to an Atrium press release. This supply will allow approximately 10,000 of Atrium Health’s frontline healthcare workers, working in high-priority areas where they are at a higher risk of exposure, to receive the vaccine at a faster pace.
After receiving the Pfizer vaccine last week, Atrium Health has been able to vaccinate more than 1,500 teammates with their initial dose. Additionally, more than 5,300 are scheduled for their first vaccine and more than 5,300 scheduled for their second vaccine dose.
The side effects of Moderna’s vaccine include soreness at the injection site and are similar to the side effects from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is given in two doses, separated by 28 days.
As part of the state’s vaccination plan, the first round of vaccines will all go to health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 along with long-term care staff and residents.
Even with the vaccines being administered, much of the greater Charlotte area continues to see increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations. As people prepare to celebrate the holidays, McCurdy encourages them to limit gatherings and wear masks.
“I think it’s not a time to become overly optimistic and not a time to put down our guards,” he said. “I would just encourage people over the next few weeks…to continue to be super-vigilant about all the COVID safe behaviors.”