HENDERSON

My wife and I fall into that category of “adults 75 years or older” who became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 11.

It took a couple of phone calls to the Granville-Vance Public Health to arrange to get the vaccine. (It would have been easier if I had used the COVID Vaccine Hotline, which I later learned was 252-295-1503 or 252-295-1504.) I left my contact information and soon received a call back and scheduled an appointment for Jan. 11.

Yesterday, we went to the health department’s clinic on Charles Rollins Road. After check-in at the front desk, we were directed to a small office, where our personal information was taken down, and then to a waiting area that was a bit small to maintain social distancing for the eight or so people waiting for their shots.

But it gave us a chance while we were waiting to visit with folks from our neighborhood, fellow church members and with strangers who cheerfully shared the vaccine experience with us.

When our turn came, a staff member who identified herself as Wendy verified our personal data and gave us information about the vaccine, possible side effects and how to schedule the second shot in four weeks.

We learned that Granville-Vance Public Health is administering the Moderna vaccine. According to an information sheet, it “may prevent COVID-19” but has not been approved by the FDA, although in a clinical trial it “has been shown to prevent COVID-19 following two doses given one month apart.”

The shot itself was (relatively) painless. Wendy told us to sit in the waiting area for 15 minutes in case we had any side effects. We didn’t, so our stay there was short. We left, grateful for the competent, efficient and friendly health department staff that took us through the process.

We will return for the second shot in February.

Phase 1a of the state vaccine roll-out plan began in late December. That phase calls for vaccinating health care workers who work directly with patients with COVID-19 or administer the vaccine, and staff and residents in skilled nursing facilities and group homes. It is still going on.

Yesterday marked the beginning of vaccinations by Granville-Vance Public Health for Phase 1b, Group 1, which includes people 75 and older. Those eligible must sign up in advance and make an appointment by calling the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 252-295-1503 or 252-295-1504.

They may also go online to the department’s website at https://gvph.org/covidvaccines for more information.

The health department website warns that the hotline may be closed temporarily at times when the anticipated supply of vaccine is uncertain.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has prioritized groups that will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The remaining categories are:

• Phase 1b, Group 2: Health care workers and essential frontline workers who are age 50 and up. Group 3: all other health-care and frontline workers of whatever age.

• Phase 2, Group 1: Anyone 65-74 years old, regardless of health status or living situation. Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions. Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings. Group 4: Essential workers not yet vaccinated.

• Phase 3: Students, including college and university students and K-12 students 16 and over. Younger children will only be vaccinated when a vaccine is approved for them.

• Phase 4: Everyone who’s left who wants the vaccination.