North Morganton United Methodist Church spent Friday helping neighbors get COVID-19 vaccines in their arms.
The church partnered with Morganton Drug to host the vaccine clinic, which had about 80 people signed up to get their shots.
“We’re glad to,” said the Rev. Burt Williams. “I was hoping for the opportunity when John David Hood, who had been a pharmacist, called me and told me that Allan (Propst), the owner of the pharmacy, wanted to do a clinic at church and I said, ‘Absolutely, we’ll do it.’”
Carson Koone, manager and pharmacist at Morganton Drug, said things came together quickly for the clinic.
“They’ve been great to work with, very accommodating. They’ve done everything we needed, above and beyond,” Koone said. “We’ve had some great volunteers here, great staff from the drug store helping and behind the scenes, too. Drug store staff, EMS has come out to help monitor everybody.”
Hosting the clinic felt like a natural step for the church in helping to fight the pandemic, Williams said.
“We feel like it’s part of our mission to help people,” he said. “We do a lot of things in the community to help people and this seemed like a natural fit.”
Morganton Drug wanted to thank the volunteers from the church and Burke County EMS for help in hosting the clinic. Williams said it was a pleasure to do so.
“It’s been our honor to help hold this clinic for the community,” Williams said. “We put out notice on Facebook for folks in the community and in our congregation to know about it, that we needed volunteers, and we had, within the first day, from the church community, we had enough volunteers for what they asked us to get.”
John Coleman was one of the people who signed up to get a vaccine. He previously passed up an opportunity to get the vaccine through his employer, but once he saw more and more of his family members start to get the shot, he decided to get it, too.
“Everybody in my family got it except for me so I wanted to get on board,” Coleman said. “I was going to get it anyway, I was just waiting.”
He suggested anyone who has an opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine take it.
“The shot’s painful, but it’s going to be good in the long run to fight this epidemic, just come out and get it,” Coleman said. “If I’m out here, everybody else can get out here.”
Debbie Wood said her doctor told her to get the vaccine. She ended up getting COVID-19 while waiting to get a vaccine, but thankfully had mild symptoms.
“In my opinion, it’s a safety feature,” Wood said. “I’d rather be safe than sorry, cause like I said, there’s no saying that we couldn’t get it again and hopefully this will help, cause we might get the full-blown effect next time.”
Williams and other members of the congregation who were volunteering Friday already had received their vaccines.
“I feel like it’s not only about taking care of yourself, it’s about taking care of other folks in the community,” Williams said. “The faster we are able to get everybody vaccinated, the safer everybody will be.”
For those who still think the vaccine isn’t safe, Propst, who also is a pharmacist, said the mRNA technology used in the vaccines isn’t new. Koone added that, to her understanding, the trials for the vaccine followed a similar timeline to traditional vaccine trials.
“The trials that they did, as far as I know, they did them as long as an adequate trial for most vaccines go,” Koone said. “There were more patients I believe enrolled in this than there were the shingles vaccine which just came out, the new one, a few years ago. I think most people are apprehensive about this because of the speed in which it came out, but with that, the flu shot changes, every year people take a chance with that, and so I just say you can’t change somebody’s mind if they’re against getting it, but I think it’s a good one to get.”
She recommended that those still unsure about the vaccine reach out to their personal health care providers for advice.
“If somebody’s on the fence about getting it, they can always reach out to their local pharmacy or doctor’s offices to get a little more information,” Koone said. “If they’re on the fence about it, just think about it. At the end, it is their decision. You can’t change somebody’s mind if they really don’t want it, but you have to think about yourself as well as others that you’re around. This is a way to protect you and protect others, and hopefully help us overcome this thing.”