Access to the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming even more convenient as Nash UNC Health Care is expanding its access to local vaccination clinics and is setting up a special phone line to help local residents navigate them.
“While only a few weeks ago vaccine appointments were scarce, now there are a variety of options for community members to choose from,” Nash UNC Health Care spokeswoman Haley Weaver said in a press release.
To help area residents find out which option is best for them, Nash UNC has established a phone line that provides information for all the vaccination clinics they are working with or hosting in the community. Nash UNC also now is offering vaccinations to homebound people through this phone line, the press release said.
“After receiving data and community feedback, we found that location and a trusted source are the driving factors for individuals to get vaccinated,” said Lee Isley, president and CEO of Nash UNC Health Care. “With this feedback, we worked to partner with local churches and other community partners to offer vaccination clinics at their sites. We’ve worked with their staff and volunteers to conduct outreach to their networks, provide vaccine education and get them scheduled for vaccination.”
Cases of COVID still are quite active in the Twin Counties, despite the increase in vaccinations, Isley said. As of Monday, 27 patients were hospitalized at Nash UNC with COVID complications, the press release said.
Nash County Health Director William Hill said Monday that five of these patients are under intensive care and one of those patients is on a ventilator.
“We saw a brief decrease in COVID patients at Nash UNC Health Care in February, with our inpatient COVID census getting down to the mid-teens for a few weeks,” Isley said. “However, cases requiring hospitalization crept back up in March and have been hanging in the high 20s and low 30s for the past few weeks. We must encourage folks to get vaccinated and to seek early treatment if they test positive for COVID-19.”
Nash UNC’s new Community Vaccination Line number is 252-962-8624. This phone line will provide information about various clinics in the area and will serve as a way for people to schedule their vaccine appointment.
To schedule a vaccination appointment at one of Nash UNC’s community vaccine clinics, which vary from week to week, local residents can call and leave a voicemail with their full name, date of birth and best contact number.
People also should include which clinic they prefer to use. As the clinics change from week to week, anyone who is unsure of the current clinic locations and vaccination opportunities should note this in their message. Anyone who is homebound and unable to travel to a clinic location also should note this information in the message when they call.
Nash UNC Health Care has access to the two-shot Moderna vaccine and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though the amount of each vaccine is limited by the hospital’s weekly allotment, Weaver said. If people prefer one vaccine over another, that information should be noted in the message as well.
A member of the Nash UNC vaccine scheduling team will call people back as soon as possible, often during normal business hours, to discuss vaccination options and schedule appointments at clinics hosted by the hospital.
Anyone who prefers to receive a vaccine in a doctor’s office setting can call 984-215-5485 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays or visit www.yourshot.org to schedule an appointment through Eastern North Carolina Medical Group or another nearby UNC Health primary care provider.
Nash UNC’s Vaccine website — nashunchealthcare.org/vaccine — includes all of this information, as well as information on other community vaccination resources such as Nash County Health Department’s COVID-19 Hotline and registration link, Edgecombe County Health Department’s phone numbers and webpages and links to the state Department of Health and Human Services Vaccine Locator site, which provides vaccination sites by zip code.
Nash UNC’s vaccine website also includes vaccine education information in both English and Spanish.
“Although the vaccine helps us take a big step towards normal life again, we encourage everyone to continue doing their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19. Please continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and social distance,” Isley said in the press release.