Good news in the fight against COVID-19 despite vaccine hesitancy

As the number of people that have been vaccinated grows, Moore County has decided to close one of their vaccination sites. Now, all shots will be given at the health department in Carthage. Also, large-scale vaccinations at the Harness Track done by FirstHealth have come to an end as of Tuesday.

“The decision to end the mass vaccination clinics comes as the local demand for vaccines has dwindled in the last few weeks,” said Moore County Public Information Officer Matt Garner Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Moore County Board of Commissioners. “That doesn’t mean that FirstHealth is going to stop giving the vaccine. They are actually going to flow through some of the FirstHealth affiliated primary care offices. So, if you have primary care here in the county, you can get it at your doctor’s office.”

Garner also said that other private health care providers are now receiving vaccine supplies and can schedule appointments, the largest being Walmart. Other pharmacies to offer vaccines are CVS, Walgreens, Food Lion Pharmacy, Harris Teeter Pharmacy and Seven Lakes Prescription Shoppe. 

In North Carolina, only 50% of people aged 18 and older have been fully vaccinated. To address residents that remain hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the Moore County Health Department has created educational posters that will be distributed across the county. Also, community leaders have been chosen to deliver video messages explaining the benefits of getting vaccinated.

One such video is of Tony Price, Moore Free Care Clinic CEO and a member of the Moore County Board of Health. In the video, Price delivers a straightforward explanation of the different vaccines and discusses known side effects. “Here is the good news,” says Price on the video. “Because of the vaccine, people can start doing things they have stopped doing because of the pandemic.” The videos are available on YouTube and the Moore County Health Department Facebook page.

A large part of Americans are reluctant to get the vaccine or just refuse to get it. 

Another bit of good news comes from nursing homes. “For the first time in almost a year, there are no active COVID-19 outbreaks in any Moore County congregate living or nursing home facilities,” said Moore County Health Director Robert Wittmann.

Anyone aged 16 and older can be vaccinated in North Carolina. Those that are 16 and 17 must be accompanied to the vaccination site by a parent or guardian. The vaccine is free, and no photo ID or proof of insurance is required to receive a shot.

This Saturday, vaccinations will be given at the Carthage Buggy Festival. “We have a prime location from what I understand here around the traffic circle at the Historic Courthouse,” said Wittmann.” Vaccinations will be given from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Later in May, the Moore County Health Department will have a vaccination event at New Zion Church in Robbins.

Dr. Milewski Honored

Also during the meeting, Dr. Ronald Milewski was recognized for his 36 years of service to Moore County Emergency Services. “Today marks the end of an era that began in mid-1985 when Dr. Milewski had the vision and goals to implement a streamlined emergency service in Moore County,” said Public Safety Director Bryan Phillips. “Trained to save, dedicated to serve was his motto for us. That is what he has instilled in us over the last 30 years.”

Good news in the fight against COVID, despite vaccine hesitancy

Moore County Public Safety Director Bryan Phillips honors Dr. Ronald Milewski with a wooden flag for his 36 years of service to Moore County Emergency Services.

Commissioner Otis Ritter, himself a member of the newly created emergency medical services in the 1980s, said of Dr. Milewski, “he never pulled doctor on me, never. He always treated me as equal.”

Ritter went on to say, “We all had the same thing in mind, to save people’s lives. You cannot imagine how many people this man has saved in this county. I have more respect for him than any doctor that is practicing today.”

Feature photo: Moore County Health Director Robert Wittmann provides a COVID-19 update to the Moore County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.


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