Charlotte doctor who got first COVID vaccine in NC talks about experience


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — She’s the first person to receive the coronavirus vaccine in our state. The medical director of infection prevention at Atrium Health in Charlotte is speaking about her experience. 

Dr. Katie Passaretti was one of the first people to roll up her sleeves to get the Pfizer COVID vaccine Monday morning.  

Passaretti called the vaccine “our best hope” for turning this pandemic around.  

Just hours after taking the vaccine given in a shot form, she told FOX8 she felt great. She said she didn’t have any bruising from the shot and that it was less painful than the flu shot.  

She described it as a nearly painless process. 

“I’m perfectly fine. I have really no side effects, no problems. I came back to work and I’m sitting in my office finishing up the stuff I put to the side when I got vaccinated,” she said.

She said she was excited to be the first and didn’t have any apprehension in getting it. After seeing the harsh effects COVID had on patients and her co-workers firsthand, Monday was emotional. 

“Driving over to get the vaccine and getting the vaccine itself, very emotional. It’s something we’ve been preparing for and thinking about for a while,” she said. 

Passaretti called the vaccine a right step towards a brighter future. 

“This day we’ve been waiting for quite a while. It’s a huge transition point I think into the future, holds a ton of hope, and promise for our patients and our teammates and our communities,” Passaretti said. “This is our best hope at turning things around with this pandemic. I hope that people recognize that keep an Open mind, educate themselves.” 

Her biggest concern? 

“People being afraid of taking the vaccine, people not being educated on the vaccine because we know vaccines are only effective if a large chunk of the population takes them,” she said. “It’s not that any safety, efficacy or any other steps were missed.” 

While Passaretti admits there’s still work to be done when it comes to the logistics of how to get it out to the public, she wants to assure the quickness in which it was approved and administered has nothing to do with its efficiency. 

“I would like to reassure people that while it happened quickly, that’s because you had the entire scientific community, worldwide working on it at the same time. There were no funding obstacles, there were no red tape obstacles,” she said. 

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are said to be around 95 percent effective. 

That’s why Passeretti said getting vaccinated is our safest and most efficient way to return to our old normal. 

“Definitely personally meaningful to me in protecting my loved ones, my family, my friends and getting just all back to a place where we can be together for Christmas,” she said. 

 Passaretti will go back for her second dose in three weeks. 

She stressed the importance of when it becomes available to the public, people need to set a date for that second dose of the vaccine while they’re at their first appointment. Saying that is the most effective way the vaccine will do what it’s supposed to do. 

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