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In Buxton, 500 COVID-19 vaccinations administered

On Saturday, Jan. 16, 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine were efficiently administered at a clinic in the Fessenden Center in Buxton.

Public health nurses were all smiles as they administered shots to 91- and 93-year-olds and lots of others in the 75 and over crowd.

In the gymnasium, Dare Health director Sheila Davies with her laptop open sat at one table to the side of the operation. A distance away were two workers recording data.

Outside the Fessenden Center, men welcomed arrivals and asked appointment time. Some went in right away; others to a short line on the front entrance ramp. Around noon, that outside line was longer.

Inside the center’s foyer were two stations: one for names A through M and the other N through Z. Again, the folks were efficient, quickly finding a person’s form, securing it on a clipboard and directing the shot recipient through the gymnasium door, where Drew Pearson, Dare’s Emergency Management director, handed the shot-taker a number. The form questions were quickly answered and numbers called. Later, the wait for the number call was longer.

Friendly waves from nurses indicated which one of eight stations was ready for a new patient. Arms were swabbed, shots of Moderna vaccine set up and quickly administered.

Then to the next station, where yet another pleasant person filled out the card giving the date for the second dose to be administered at the same time at the same place. Then, another nice person wrote down the time ending the rest period. For those without a time piece, a clock was on the wall. People exited through a side door in the gymnasium.

At 7:19 p.m. on Saturday night, Dare County Department of Health and Human Services posted a brief message on Facebook: “We are very excited to share that a total of 500 individuals received the COVID-19 vaccine today.” The message was accompanied by a notice that Saturday’s dashboard would not be posted.

The compliments flowed, some 66 of them.

“Great Job. Keep up the good work. Dare County has it together.”

“Good experience. Very efficient & comfortable atmosphere.”

“Well organized, great professionals.”

“My health department coworkers are ‘SUPERSTARS!!!’”

“Was so professional throughout the process, including the Sheriffs outside letting people know when to enter! Never felt the shot! No side effects! Could not be a better experience. Thank all of you for excellent job!!”

Those now eligible to receive the vaccine are people 65 years of age and older and healthcare workers. Those who are qualified to receive the vaccine can register online at darenc.com/Register4vaccine or call 252-475-5008. Those who register will be called to schedule an appointment.

On Saturday, Jan. 23, a clinic to dispense the Pfizer vaccine was scheduled to administer 1,162 doses, more than double the number of people vaccinated at the Buxton clinic. This clinic, scheduled before the new phase was ordered, is for Dare County Schools, College of The Albemarle and law enforcement personnel.

The Pfizer vaccine arrives dry and requires mixing. Two Outer Banks pharmacists and two nurses will mix the vaccine and load syringes. Two registered nurses have also volunteered to swell the ranks of the public health nurses. Some 14 vaccine administration stations will be staffed.

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