Behind the scenes: Local health care facility ready to receive vaccine for distribution

CHARLOTTE — StarMed Family & Urgent Care in west Charlotte could serve as a hub for vaccine storage and processing once it becomes available, as early as Dec. 15 in North Carolina.

[North Carolina to get 85,000 initial Pfizer COVID vaccine doses]

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arin Piramzadian believes that once the Pfizer vaccines are released that they would arrive within hours.

“What we expect is they’ll be put in special units at the lab that tries to transport it to us, and will place it in our deep freezers,” Piramzadian said. “Within a few days we’re going to open it up to health care workers.”

North Carolina hasn’t named which facilities will get the vaccine first.

StarMed, which is a partner of Mecklenburg County, is preparing anyway, and freezers may be the deciding factor.

“Right now, we have our electrician working in the back hallway to prepare for all the freezers that are coming in. It’s quite an operation,” Piramzadian said.

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Freezers to store the Pfizer vaccine are like the ones for the Moderna vaccine.

The water bottles inside help it maintain a constant temperature, which is logged each day in order to meet state requirements.

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Piramzadian thinks from Dec. 15, it could take two weeks to vaccinate an initial 85,000 at-risk health care workers across the state.

He could be among them and thinks it will give the general public confidence in the vaccine.

“I do believe in it,” Piramzadian said. “And once people see that we are vaccinated, that we’re not having any issues with the vaccinations, they will have more trust and faith in the vaccine itself.”