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Molly Schloesser from the West End Elementary School receives a vaccination. Moore County teachers and faculty from private schools receive COVID-19 vaccinations Friday morning at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst Friday. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

With demand for the COVID-19 vaccine waning, FirstHealth of the Carolinas is winding down its mass vaccination clinics at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst.

The clinics have been held regularly two days at the Fair Barn since the beginning of the year. Now after more than three months and thousands of COVID vaccinations given, FirstHealth will hold its final large first-dose COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Tuesday, May 4.

The decision to end the mass vaccination clinics comes as the local demand for the vaccine has dwindled in the last few weeks, hospital officials said.

The end of mass vaccination clinics won’t be the end of FirstHealth’s vaccine efforts. Soon, people across the Sandhills will have access to COVID-19 vaccines at several FirstHealth primary care and occupational health clinics.

FirstHealth continues to work alongside the Moore County Health Department, which will continue administering COVID-19 vaccines at numerous events in the coming weeks.

“From the very beginning of Operation FirstShot in January, our focus has been on vaccinating as many people as possible as we all work together to bring this pandemic to an end,” FirstHealth CEO Mickey Foster said.

FirstHealth has administered more than 62,000 first and second dose vaccines through Operation FirstShot clinics throughout the region.

FirstHealth community vaccine rollout

Nurse Deana Kearns administers the shot while FirstHealth CEO Mickey Foster observes. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

“It’s been humbling to see and hear all of the kind words from members of the community who were able to get vaccinated at the Fair Barn and at our other large-scale clinics in Richmond, Hoke and Montgomery counties,” added Foster. “We also thank the Village of Pinehurst for opening the doors of the Fair Barn to us.”

John Elmore of The O'Neal School receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst

John Elmore of The O'Neal School receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst.

FirstHealth will continue to operate second-dose clinics in the coming weeks to ensure that everyone who has visited a large-scale site is fully protected.

FirstHealth will be able to accommodate anyone who may have missed their second-dose appointment of Pfizer at the May 4 clinic and the second-dose clinics scheduled during the month of May.

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Coronavirus vaccines administered by FirstHealth of the Carolinas Tuesday morning at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

People in need of a second dose Moderna vaccine that aren’t already scheduled, may call (910) 715-SHOT for assistance with scheduling at any of our other vaccination locations. Smaller first-dose clinics planned for FirstHealth primary care and occupational health clinics will require appointments and be ongoing as long as vaccine supply allows.

FirstHealth encourages anyone who wants a shot in Moore County to register online for the May 4 clinic at www.firsthealth.org/shot or call (910) 715-SHOT.

“We know these vaccines work and provide robust protection against COVID-19,” FirstHealth Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jenifir Bruno said. “We are seeing this firsthand in our hospitals as the majority of hospitalized patients being treated for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. We still have many weeks and months to go before we reach vaccination levels that will allow us to return to normal. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, I encourage you to schedule your shot today.”

Robert Wittmann, Health Director for Moore County, said the Health Department is planning at least 11 clinics during the month of May and will begin accepting walk-in vaccination appointments in the coming weeks.

“There is plenty of vaccine supply in Moore County and plenty of places to get a shot. We will be holding events at the Health Department and at the Buggy Festival in Carthage, Moore County public and private high schools, the Armory in Southern Pines and in the Robbins area,” he said. “If you know someone who wants a vaccine, please get them in touch with us at (910) 947-SHOT (7468).”

“For even more incentive, the Governor has stated that he will review the State’s vaccination data in June, and if at least two-thirds of the North Carolina population is vaccinated by that time, he will eliminate the mask mandate,” Wittmann added.

(4) comments

Kent Misegades

Why in the world is a child getting this CCP flu shot? They have a much greater chance of being killed by lightning than by the the CCP flu. But guaranteed they will suffer from its side effects. Why are people giving the shot, who are presumably already vaccinated, wearing masks? If the flu shot works, they are not in risk of getting this bug. Is there no common sense and no critical thinking allowed here?

Tamara Vigne

What child? What flu? Is there no critical thinking allowed in your head? Also, both masks and the COVID vaccine REDUCE the likelihood of COVID transmission, neither is 100% effective.

Jim Tomashoff

Kent's at his computer's keyboard again. That means he is lying. A cursory internet search indicates that the chances of someone 17 and younger are many times as great of catching covid-19 than of someone in the same demographic being struck by lightning in a given year. As usual when Kent wants to argue his point of view, he simply makes up "facts" or quotes far right-wing organizations with little or no credibility.

Tamara Vigne

True, plus the person pictured receiving the vaccine was not a child.

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