Cooper Thanks Health Care Workers At Duke Hospital; Observes COVID-19 Vaccinations Underway

RALEIGH – Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen visited Duke University School of Medicine to see Duke Health frontline workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine. After months of caring for COVID-19 patients, these health care workers began receiving the vaccine last week.

“For months, our health care workers have sacrificed so much to care for COVID-19 patients, and seeing some of them receive this vaccine is a huge relief and a major step forward in our fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Cooper.

Duke Health received one of the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine in North Carolina last Monday. Health care workers care for patients with COVID-19 at Duke and other hospitals in the state are the first group to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Long-term care facilities and nursing homes across the state are expected to begin vaccinating staff and residents starting December 28.

Vaccines are currently in short supply, but the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent authorization of the Moderna vaccine will bring 175,000 doses of the vaccine to North Carolina this week. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, Governor Cooper and Dr. Cohen urge North Carolinians to get vaccinated when it is their turn.

“It’s a huge relief to see our health care workers who have been caring for COVID-19 patients get their vaccine. While we still have a long way to go, we are witnessing the promise of better days ahead,” said Secretary Cohen.

“We are extremely pleased to have our Duke Health vaccination clinics operational to provide safe, effective vaccines to our team members. We are grateful for the leadership and support of Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen. Keeping our team members, patients and visitors safe remains our top priority,” said Tom Owens, MD, President of Duke University Hospital and Senior Vice President of Duke University Health System. “Vaccines not only bring hope to so many on the front lines, it provides one more way for our team members to stay safe. Of course, there is still a long road ahead of us, but we know that providing these safe, effective vaccines will be critical in our fight against COVID-19.”

Read more about the state’s vaccination distribution process in NCDHHS’ vaccine plan.