Momentous Occasion: Wake, Durham County frontline workers receive COVID-19 vaccine

The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine went into the arms of hundreds of frontline workers in Wake County Wednesday.

Austin Cobb was one of them.

"It's kind of a momentous occasion," said Cobb.

His wife, an ICU nurse at Wake Med, also received her vaccination the same day.

"Having a little bit of protection besides just a mask and getting the chance to get this is a little humbling I'd say," he added.

More than 120 staff received shots within four hours. Wake County said initially 46% of EMS personnel indicated interest in the vaccine. After some education, that number jumped to nearly 75%.

Because the vaccine is two doses, it will likely two take months to inoculate people like Cobb.

"It's actually a very safe vaccine. It hasn't been rushed, they've taken all the proper steps," he said. "It's really about the people around you. It's about parents, grandparents, and your loved ones and healthcare workers because we have to deal with COVID a lot so the fewer people we come into contact with who have it and the more we have who are vaccinated, the safer we are."

So far, Durham County EMS has vaccinated 60 of their paramedics, including Corporal Max Patterson.

"This is a once in a lifetime, once in a generation event and being able to have the protection for my patients, myself and my family is kind of beyond words," Corporal Patterson said. "We try and just help the folks as best we can. We answer the call. It doesn't matter what you have going on. It doesn't matter what the situation might be. We're going to be there."

Until there is enough supply of the vaccine, officials say you should not visit a public health building or COVID-19 testing site to get one.
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