First shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrives at WakeMed Raleigh

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- It's a big day for WakeMed Raleigh's COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce. On Thursday, the hospital received its first shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

Between its Raleigh and Cary campus, the hospital is expecting to receive a total of 3,900 doses that are prioritized for workers treating COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers in areas at high risk of exposure.

The hospital has been preparing its frontline workers ahead of the momentous occasion.

"We want our staff to know this vaccine is safe," said Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Payne.

Lowe-Payne serves on the Taskforce where she led Q&A work sessions with staff about the vaccine.

It comes just days after UNC Hospitals and Duke Health began vaccinating dozens of their team members this week.

WATCH: First Duke worker to get COVID-19 vaccine explains how she's feeling two days later
EMBED More News Videos

On Monday, the 67-year-old frontline worker was the first person at Duke Health to get the shot.

"One thing WakeMed is working to do is make sure that every employee who wants this vaccine is vaccinated in a timely fashion," Dr. Lowe-Payne said. "We decided to do it in a random selection. We are prioritizing it with those who are at highest risk."

As for the community-at-large, Dr. Lowe-Payne warns people not to rely on herd immunity versus taking the vaccine, because the effects of COVID019 person-to-person is unpredictable.

For those who do plan to take the vaccine, Dr. Lowe-Payne encourages people to take both doses, and review the Pfizer study for themselves, to see how it became 95% effective in clinical trials.

"I have to tell you as I've been reading through it and combing through the research and the data and also looking at the side effects of some of the participants; I can't underestimate, COVID is very unpredictable and we can't know who is going to do well and who is not going to do well. We know what COVID can do. And although there may be some questions about long-term effects or how long this vaccine lasts, one of the things -- the vaccine is much more predictable than the COVID virus. So when I look at the risk versus the benefit, I've chosen to vaccinate myself and I've also encouraged my family to get vaccinated as well," Dr. Lowe-Payne said.

Employees at WakeMed will start getting vaccinated on Friday, Dec. 18.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.