CaroMont Health Vaccinates More Than 5,300 During Mass Event
On Wednesday, February 24, the first day of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for North Carolina educators and childcare staff, CaroMont Health opened its doors to the first of those essential employees eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At the end of the three-day, 72-hour mass vaccination event, CaroMont Health had vaccinated approximately 3,412 educators and childcare workers and 1,951 other individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with CaroMont Health to provide a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for educators,” said Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker. “Following Governor Cooper’s announcement that February 24 would be the first day of vaccinations for educators, it was wonderful to get a phone call from Chris Peek saying, ‘We want to help.’ And, CaroMont Health did just that. By making the vaccine available so quickly and sponsoring an organized and efficient clinic, the staff at CaroMont Health helped our teachers and other school employees gain a sense of hope that we are turning the corner with the pandemic.”
Peek echoed Dr. Booker’s appreciation for the partnership.
“The pandemic has illuminated many things for many people and one of those is how critically important it is to have a dependable network for childcare and Pre-K through 12 education,” said Chris Peek, President and Chief Executive Officer at CaroMont Health “We already had a very strong partnership with Gaston County Schools and private schools in our area. When the new phase was announced, we immediately jumped into action to make a plan to be able to offer vaccine to this new group and balance the vaccinations that are still occurring for other eligible groups. As a community health system, people depend on us, and we knew we had to deliver."
Chris Peek, President and CEO of CaroMont Health welcomes educators as they arrive for their first COVID-19 vaccinations. Photo courtesy of the Gaston Gazette.
CaroMont Health estimates that more than 1,400 of those educators and childcare staff vaccinated during the event live or work in Gaston County, and while the event was primarily focused on the hospital’s primary region, no eligible individuals were turned away. In fact, teachers from 35 counties (25 in North Carolina and 10 from South Carolina), scheduled appointments and were vaccinated during the event held at CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
“The primary goal of this event was to ensure vaccines were delivered to as many individuals as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Peek. “While we set out to do this for our Gaston County educators and childcare professionals, we quickly learned there were many, many other teachers across the state who were desperate to get this vaccine. It was incredible to watch the message spread throughout the educator networks, and we were proud to be able to welcome educators from across the state.”
Welcomed by banners and more than 150 CaroMont Health employees and volunteers, teachers and childcare staff moved through the CaroMont Health Vaccine Clinic quickly to ensure a rate of at least 100 vaccinations per hour.
“Our vaccine team has worked diligently to design a Vaccine Clinic that moves patients through the vaccination process very efficiently,” explained Peek. “The goal is to have the patient vaccinated in under 30 minutes, a time that includes parking and the 15-minute observation period required following vaccination.”
Jemeka Burris, IT Professional and COVID-19 Vaccine Team Member, assembles giveaway bags between registering patients. The Vaccine Team represents a broad range of healthcare professionals who have stepped outside of their usual responsibilities to create a robust vaccination program at CaroMont Health.
While speed and efficiency are the goal, the vaccine team also works hard to ensure every patient feels the excitement and appreciation that comes with this breakthrough vaccine.
“It was a pleasure to see the enthusiasm of our employees as they participated in the clinic,” continued Dr. Booker. “The smiles on their faces really were signs of relief and appreciation. We had employees compare the vaccination process to Disney World – it was well-planned, the people were very friendly and helpful, and you walked away feeling good about what you had just experienced. We cannot praise CaroMont Health enough for their efforts to go above and beyond to support the educators in our community. Personally, I was overwhelmed by the experience. Their commitment to provide a world-class level of service was evident. Our employees have been frontline workers since August. To see them treated with such personal attention made me proud of our partnership.”
New appointments for eligible individuals are being added weekly. Visit www.caromonthealth.org/vaccine to schedule an appointment or join the interest list to be notified when vaccine is available.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Team at CaroMont Health gather for a photo before administering the first of over 5,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals during the three-day mass vaccination event.
Appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine are release on a weekly basis, as vaccine shipments are received. Learn more here. If no appointments are available or individuals are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, they may join the Interest List to be notified when appointments are available for them, based upon eligibility and vaccine supply.