A doctor in Charlotte became the first person in North Carolina to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, according to Atrium Health.
Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine began shipping to hospitals around the country over the weekend, and the first doses were given Monday.
Health care workers on the frontlines, working directly with COVID-19 patients, will be the first to get vaccinated. Staff and residents in long-term care facilities like nursing homes will also be some of the first people to get vaccinated.
More than 5,800 people have died from the virus in North Carolina. As of Monday, more than 2,500 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Atrium Health's Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Katie Passaretti was the first to get the shot in North Carolina, Atrium said.
"I just got my first COVID vaccine," Passaretti said. "I feel perfectly fine."
Describing how she felt Monday, Passaretty said, "Just a moment of hope, a moment of potential for change of the course that we're on with the pandemic right now. I couldn't be more excited."
She encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.
North Carolina got about 86,000 doses of the vaccine for this first week, but public health officials say they expect to get weekly shipments of the vaccine from Pfizer. Federal regulators gave the Pfizer vaccine emergency approval late last week.
A second vaccine, from drugmaker Moderna, is also in the pipeline for emergency approval.
"The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in North Carolina. It’s a limited supply for now, but this is a remarkable achievement for science and health. We all need to keep wearing a mask and acting responsibly while we get as many people vaccinated as fast as we can," Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday morning on Twitter.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state DHHS, said last week that it will likely be spring before the vaccine is widely available.
“We know that it’s going to take some time,” she said.