Timothy Jacob Sisley came to the Wake County Public Health Center Monday morning armed with a book, expecting an uneventful wait for his first COVID-19 vaccine. Little did he know he’d be pulled from the line to be part of history – receiving the 100,000th vaccine administered by Wake County Public Health.
“I had my notebook ready to write some thoughts about work, and this was a really nice surprise!” said the 42-year-old father to 5-year-old Jonah and 3-year-old Nella of Apex.
Sisley, who goes by “TJ,” commended his vaccinator, Clinical Lead Marissa Gamboa, for the historic shot in the arm that was "fast" and “almost felt like nothing.” He said there was no question that he and his wife would get a vaccine as soon as they were eligible.
“We've got grandparents here and grandparents in Pennsylvania that we travel to frequently, so we wanted to be able to be around them…it’s all about family for us,” he said.
Wake County Public Health received its first shipment of vaccine in December 2020. By February 2021, more than 12,000 people had received first or second shots. As vaccine supply increased, Wake County’s three mass vaccination sites at PNC Arena, the Wake County Commons Building and the Wake County Public Health Center began vaccinating roughly 10,000 people every week.
“It seems like a dream, really,” said Dr. Kim McDonald, Wake County Public Health’s Medical Director. “We’re so excited to hit this 100,000 mark, and we couldn't have done it without the wonderful team that we have working here or without all of the people who are willing to come and get the vaccine. I'm just so proud and privileged to be part of this.”
In addition to these sites, Wake County Public Health has partnered with local community and faith-based organizations to expand vaccination access to all eligible community members. These strategic efforts have helped lead to this momentous milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered, as well as increased vaccination of historically marginalized populations. The Public Health team continues to develop partnerships within these communities to help build trust and increase equitable access to vaccines and other resources.
“This has been an unprecedented undertaking,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Calabria. “We’ve only been vaccinating people for 15 weeks, yet in that time our staff and volunteers have helped protect thousands of lives. We’re truly excited about this momentum.”
Anyone in Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4a can now request vaccine from Wake County Public Health. Starting Wednesday, March 31, the online request form at WakeGov.com/vaccine will open access to everyone in Group 4, including all essential workers not yet vaccinated and other people in close group living settings. On April 7, anyone 16 and older can join the vaccine request list, with those 16 and 17 able to receive Pfizer only.
Sisley had this advice for those not yet vaccinated.
"I would take a quick look at your priorities in life and if the vaccine aligns with any of them, get it! It would seem silly not to. And if you have other reasons, health or otherwise that just don't make sense...talk to a provider, talk to family, talk to friends."
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Wake County, including a link to our vaccination request form, visit WakeGov.com/vaccine. The vaccine hotline, 919-250-1515, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just press “1” to speak to a Spanish-speaking call taker.