Published on December 17, 2020

The First COVID-19 Vaccines - A Historic Day

On December 17, a handful of UNC Health Blue Ridge teammates were the first in Burke County and among the first in the state to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The first doses arrived late morning on Thursday and by 4 p.m., we had our first teammate get vaccinated. Aislin Mosteller, BSN, RN, an ICU nurse, is the first person in Burke County to get the vaccine.

Since getting notice that we were getting 975 doses of the vaccine, UNC Health Blue Ridge worked to develop comprehensive plans to safely store and distribute the vaccine. Officials also kept in mind social distancing when gathering teammates for the vaccine and the required 15-minute wait afterward.

Here are the first 10 teammates who got the vaccine:

Name: Aislin Mosteller
Job: ICU Nurse 

“I am a nurse on the COVID unit, and it’s been my privilege to take care of these patients. I want to do my part in stopping the spread, so I’m really honored to be one of the first ones at Blue Ridge to get the vaccine.”

Aislin Mosteller

Name: Mauricio Rebello
Job: Respiratory Therapist

“Being in the healthcare field, I am familiar with what all a potential drug or vaccine has to go through to be approved. Yes, this was fast, but I’ve seen first-hand our patients struggle to breathe and their fear. I knew I had to get the vaccine if I could. I would also want to encourage the Hispanic community to get vaccinated.”

Mauricio Rebello

Name: Amanda Carroll
Job: Environmental Services

 “I’m not a nurse but my job is important, and I need to stay healthy. I clean the rooms after a COVID patient and I see what goes on and off – the masks, gowns, gloves. I wanted to get the vaccine to show I’m standing with the people I work with.”

Amanda Carroll

Name: Vicki Reinke
Job: Express Care/Urgent Care

“Well, I was a little worried about getting it. Then I thought ‘what if I get it? What if I spread it to my family?” I’ve been scared of that since it started. I’d rather be safe and keep them safe than be sorry.”

Vicki Reinke

Name: Barry Nelson
Job: Chief Nurse Executive

“As the Chief Nurse Executive, I couldn’t ask my team to do something without being willing to do it myself. Their dedication to our patients amazes me every day. This could be the one thing that could provide them some relief and I want to be a part of it.”

Barry Nelson

Name: Dr. Patricia Amoako
Job: Hospitalist

“I have been taking care of these patients from day one of this pandemic. I’ve seen this virus take too many lives not to get the vaccine. I hope I’m just one in a long line of people who will get the vaccine and maybe our lives can go back to normal before long. I’m ready for all this to be over.”

Dr. Patricia Amoako

Name: Dr. Golnosh Sharafsalah
Job: Geriatrician

“I have been looking forward to this day since they first announced a vaccine was coming soon. I think this is a real testament to the medical research field and science. Just when it seemed we were getting bad news and more bad news; we can maybe see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is this vaccine. I’m proud to be one of the first ones to get it.”

Dr. Golnosh Sharafsalah

Name: Dr. Ryan Richardson
Job: OB/GYN

“Of course, I’ll get the vaccine, I believe in it and I believe it will bring about an end to this nightmare. I couldn’t wait to get it.”

Dr. Ryan Richardson

Name: Brittany Hitchcock
Job: Phlebotomist

“I’m excited. I think it’s historic and I am a part of it. It’s an early Christmas present!”

Brittany Hitchcock

Name: Kathy Bailey
Job: President and CEO

“As the CEO of this organization, I felt it was important to lead from the front. I have been a nurse on the front lines, and I know how much this means to our community. I want to tell everyone I got it and encourage them to get it too.”

Kathy Bailey