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First responders, health care workers receive second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — For many locals, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine gives hope for some return to normalcy.

Caleb Renner, who works for the Salisbury Fire Department, was one of about 470 to receive a second injection of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at the West End Plaza. He told the Post he was honored to be in the first wave of locals to receive the ultimate protection against a pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 428,000 Americans and 241 Rowan Countians to date.

“It feels good to do my part and contribute to the greater good,” Renner said.

Thursday was the first day Rowan County Health Department and Emergency Management staff administered the second required dose of the Moderna vaccine at the West End Plaza, though some health care workers have already received the second injection. The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose 28 days after the first injection, but people have up to 42 days to receive their second dose, county spokesperson Amy Smith told the Post.

Smith said the county has designated Wednesday of each week to operate an appointment-based clinic to administer second doses of the vaccine, while Thursday will be dedicated to mass vaccination. While the number of doses provided to the county by the state varies each week, she said the system used to input patients’ information automatically earmarks all those eligible for a second dose. That allows state officials to send a more approximate amount separate from “first-dose shipments.”

When it’s time for locals to receive their second dose, they’re notified via email and a phone call with a specific date and time, organized by last name.

State data currently show Rowan County has vaccinated 7,055 locals with the first dose and 749 with the second dose.

Renner said he regularly receives flu shots, and he only experienced a sore shoulder following his first dose. But he’s surprised by the level of hesitance he’s seen in receiving the vaccine, especially in law enforcement.

Amber Park, who works at Salisbury Pediatrics Associates, also received her second dose on Thursday. Similar to an annual flu shot, she only experienced soreness in her arm following the injection.

Park said her mother-in-law was admitted to Trinity Oaks in April and only recently returned home. But Park has been taking care of her and has firsthand knowledge of how deadly the virus can be for long-term care residents.

She said it’s “very encouraging” to see many older residents anxious and ready to receive the vaccine, especially since “we have to protect those precious gems.”

Park said her great-grandparents fought in World War II and always encouraged her to receive her vaccinations. Though both of her children are too young to receive the vaccine at this time, at least one would certainly receive it if she could.

Rockwell resident Marie Sloop, who works in health care, was another local who received her second dose on Thursday. Though she was initially skeptical of receiving the vaccination, she knew it was the responsible thing to do. Following her first dose 28 days ago, she felt sick for about 36 hours. But ultimately, she wants to reassure people that “they will be fine” after receiving the vaccination.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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