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2020 Press Releases

Published on December 15, 2020

Pardee UNC Health Care Administers First COVID-19 Vaccine in Western North Carolina

Dr. Chona Reguyal, primary care provider with Pardee Family Medicine Associates, was the first to receive the vaccine.

Pardee UNC Health Care joined a select group of hospitals in the state and country today as it began its COVID-19 vaccination process. Within hours of receiving its first shipment of the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine, Pardee vaccinated a group of ten front line, high-risk health care workers. The first person to receive the vaccine was Dr. Chona Reguyal, a primary care provider with Pardee Family Medicine Associates followed immediately by Jamie K., a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit.

“That felt great,” said Reguyal immediately after her vaccination. “I’m just so excited to be able to get this vaccine and to tell my patients how important it is. This is a big moment for our community.”

Pardee’s Chief of Staff, Greg McCarty, MD and Chris Parsons, MD, medical director for Pardee’s Center for Infectious Diseases, were also among the first ten to be vaccinated, along with two team members from the Environmental Services department, and two Urgent Care providers. The first official team member vaccine clinic will begin Tuesday afternoon, with a goal of vaccinating 400 Pardee team members by week’s end.

“Pardee is honored to be among the first 11 facilities in the state to receive the vaccine and begin the vaccination process,” said James M. Kirby, II, president and CEO, Pardee UNC Health Care. “This is no doubt a day that each of us will remember and hold dear as we continue to face down this pandemic. Today, we have hope; and today, we are taking steps to protect our community.”

Pardee is following the parameters established by CDC, as specified for Phase 1a distribution of the Pfizer vaccine. “To move through this first phase of distribution, we began by prioritizing staff according to geographic location within the hospital and clinical settings, as well as our ambulatory and Urgent Care clinics,” said David Ellis, MD, chief medical officer for Pardee UNC Health Care. “The list we submitted to the NC DHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) includes those who are caring for or cleaning areas used by patients with COVID-19 working throughout our organization - our Emergency Department, Respiratory Care Unit (RCU), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Environmental Services department, and all clinical settings.” Ellis notes that the vaccine planning team is doing everything they can to ensure that Pardee’s health care workers who are at risk of COVID-19 exposure are vaccinated as soon as possible.

As a Phase 1a provider of the vaccine, and an “open site” per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pardee will also be able to offer the vaccine to those serving on the front lines throughout Henderson County. Pardee is bound by the parameters of the Emergency Use Authorization and federal and state regulations as to who can receive the vaccine in this early phase.

“We know that our community is eager to see the vaccine distributed and we look forward to being able to do that as more vaccines are available and as the CDC approves subsequent priority groups,” said Ellis. “As we celebrate this milestone in the course of the pandemic, it is important that we all remain vigilant and continue to practice the 3-Ws of wearing a face covering, waiting at least 6 feet apart and washing hands.”

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