Atrium Health First to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine in North Carolina

12.14.2020 Atrium Health News

High-priority patient-facing teammates among the first in the nation to receive Pfizer vaccine   

CHARLOTTE, N.C., December 14, 2020 – Atrium Health announced today it was the first health system in North Carolina to administer an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer. The health system has developed comprehensive plans to safely and effectively distribute the vaccine, as vaccination is the best way to prevent infection from COVID-19.   

"Today, my spirit is certainly lifted with the vaccine arriving and December 14 will be a historic day I will remember for the rest of my life," said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health. "This has been a year that has tested all of us, and after fighting in the trenches 24/7, I am so happy that the cavalry is finally starting to arrive. Teams have been working around the clock at Atrium Health to prepare for vaccine distribution, and while we still have some months of heavy lifting, our frontline heroes have started to get the protection they deserve as we continue to provide health, hope and healing to each community we are privileged to serve.” 

Pfizer reports its vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 among people who had no evidence of prior infection. Due to limited initial supply and based on national and state guidance, the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine is being given to Atrium Health teammates in high priority, patient-facing areas such as the emergency department and medical intensive care unit, and areas where healthcare workers are at a higher risk for COVID-19 exposure.   

Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of Infection Prevention at Atrium Health, was the first to receive the vaccine in North Carolina today.  

High-priority patient-facing teammates among the first in the nation to receive Pfizer vaccine   

“This is a moment of hope as this vaccine has the potential to change the course of where we are with the pandemic, said Dr. Passaretti. “I couldn’t be more excited. I feel perfectly fine and haven’t had any issues or complications with the vaccine. I would highly encourage everyone to talk with your doctor and consider getting vaccinated when it is available for you.  

Although the health system has started a new and very hopeful phase of combatting this virus by administering a vaccine for COVID-19, it remains critical for everyone to continue practicing COVID-Safe behaviors such as wearing a mask, social-distancing and handwashing, before and after having been vaccinated.   

As a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care at hundreds of care locations throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, Atrium Health is bringing the most advanced therapies to patients and anticipates treatment trials it's running will guide physicians closer to identifying additional safe and effective treatments. To date, Atrium Health has conducted 10 clinical trials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Atrium Health also opened a voluntary vaccine research registry, which allows people to learn more about vaccine research and development. People who take part in the registry may be invited to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials in the future and will be provided with convenient access to trials should they be interested. Participating in clinical trials is a way for people to receive potentially lifesaving medications before they become FDA available. Clinical trials are crucial for advancing research and bringing new vaccines to the general public.  

For more information about Atrium Health’s COVID-19 research registry, call 833-451-1188, visit AtriumHealth.org/COVIDVACCINE or email STRIVEVaccineRegistry@atriumhealth.org. 


About Atrium Health 

Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 teammates serving patients at 42 hospitals and more than 1,500 care locations. It provides care under the Wake Forest Baptist Healthname in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region and Atrium Health Navicent in Georgia. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest School of Medicine is the academic core of the enterprise, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for cancer treatment and in eight pediatric specialties, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and was the recipient of the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing more than $2 billion per year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.