With the initial allocations of the vaccine Atrium Health has received, it has been our intent to vaccinate our healthcare workers, to protect them and help ensure a healthy workforce to care for the community during the current increase in patient volumes. Our vaccine allocations are based on delivering a certain number of weekly doses, so we have scheduled appointments to make sure no dose of this valuable, life-saving vaccine goes unused or to waste.

Coronavirus Updates | 3 months ago

What to Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution at Atrium Health

Since the vaccine arrived at Atrium Health on December 14, teams have been working around the clock to ensure our frontline healthcare workers and clinical partners who are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 are offered the doses first. Follow this article for continual updates:

Editor's note: We will continue to update this article as new information and data on vaccinations at Atrium Health becomes available. 


Atrium Health is in regular communication with the state to understand its guidelines, plans and processes for vaccinating healthcare workers and the public. The current process during Phase 1a requires Atrium Health employees, referred to as teammates, to register with the state to receive the vaccine. In addition to the state requirements, Atrium Health has established a rigorous, internal, four-tiered prioritization process, which ensures our frontline healthcare workers and clinical partners, who are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19, are offered the doses first.

Teammates in other nonpatient-facing roles will be invited to get their vaccinations after those at high risk in Phase 1a have been taken care of.

With the initial allocations of the vaccine Atrium Health has received, it has been our intent to vaccinate our healthcare workers, to protect them and help ensure a healthy workforce to care for the community during the current increase in patient volumes. Our vaccine allocations are based on delivering a certain number of weekly doses, so we have scheduled appointments to make sure no dose of this valuable, life-saving vaccine goes unused or to waste.

Current Status of Vaccinations at Atrium Health 

As of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19: 

  • 16,6 00 Phase 1a healthcare workers have received their initial vaccine.
  • 20,300 Phase 1a healthcare workers have scheduled their vaccine appointments. 

Healthcare Workers Who Can Get the Vaccine in Phase 1a 

At a December 30, 2020, news conference, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced the state was replacing its newly-announced guidelines for vaccine distribution to align the state to criteria announced by the White House the previous week. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations, the state simplified its Phase 1a guidelines to simply state that healthcare personnel working directly with COVID-19 patients and those giving vaccines should be offered the vaccine first.

Long-term care facility residents are also part of Phase 1a.

Dr. Cohen announced that the state was expected to open Phase 1b during the early part of January 2021, described in further detail below.

Atrium Health’s Priority Tiers Compared to the State’s Phase 1a and 1b 

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that healthcare personnel receive the vaccines first as part of Phase 1a. According to the CDC, healthcare personnel are defined as those "serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials." The CDC notes this definition is inclusive of not only frontline healthcare workers, but also people in most supporting roles, including administration, billing and even volunteers, among others.

To ensure Atrium Health is in compliance with the state’s Phase 1a guidelines, we continue to vaccinate the highest priority teammates first. Atrium Health’s internal priority lists was created early on to make sure those at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 and need it most are receiving it promptly.

All Atrium Health teammates have the potential to be working at any time in an area where COVID-19 patients are being provided care. We have grouped our teammates based on their potential risk as follows:

NC State Phase 1a (Atrium Health Priority 1: Approximately 11,500 teammates) 

  • Teammates working in-person at Skilled Nursing Facilities, Continuing Care, Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation locations and those providing care within the home of COVID-19 patients through our Atrium Health Hospital at Home program.  
  • Teammates at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 or those who are critical to the vaccination campaign, such as those working in our Intensive Care Units, Emergency Departments or Urgent Care locations.
  • First responders, including those part of Atrium Health’s Mobile Medicine team, and Union County Emergency Medical Services personnel, which Atrium Health manages.

NC State Phase 1a (Atrium Health Priority 2: Approximately 4,350 teammates) 

  • Teammates who are working in-person with immunosuppressed and highest risk patients, such as on our Transplant, Dialysis, OB/GYN, Hematology/Oncology and Rheumatology teams.  

NC State Phase 1a (Atrium Health Priority 3: Approximately 17,050 teammates) 

  • Healthcare providers not in Priority 1 or 2, such as physicians, residents and Advanced Practice Providers (APPs).
  • Teammates not in Priority 1 or 2 but working in-person in any inpatient setting.

NC State Phase 1b (Atrium Health Priority 4)

NC State Phases 2 - 4

  • All other teammates.

Continued Work Ahead Leading Up to Public Vaccinations as Part of Phase 1b

As part of the announcement on Wednesday, December 30, state officials shared that some members of the public will be included in Phase 1b of vaccinations, set to begin in January. This phase will prioritize older residents of the state, aged 75 or older, followed by healthcare and frontline essential workers who are at least 50 years of age and then healthcare and frontline workers of any age. Included among frontline essential workers are first responders, educators and childcare providers, people who work in grocery, food or manufacturing environments, among others.

Atrium Health is working with the local and state officials on this very important next step in defeating the virus. As we ensure coordination on guidelines and details, we will be sharing more information in days ahead.

To learn more about the vaccine, including safety and additional information, visit our vaccine resource page here.