As of Jan 11, 2020, Buncombe County has a total case amount of 11,080 Covid-19 cases, while North Carolina has 623,000 cases and 7,500 deaths. The United States have had 300,000 active cases now for the first time ever. As hospitals around the country fill up, the implementation of vaccines has been slow. In Buncombe County, the vaccine has been administered to over 14,000 people and another 12,000 are scheduled. Only two hospitals, BCHHS and Mission/HCA, have been granted vaccines as the initial supply of Pfizer vaccines was only 700 vials of each dose. As of now, residents can only sign up for the vaccine by appointment and the qualifications are strict. Residents 75 and older can now apply for immunization at buncombeready.org and it is recommended that all adults sign up for the weekly newsletter at local.nixle.com/buncombe-county-government/. Side effects for the vaccine have been limited but people with a history of anaphylactic shock should consult their physician before getting vaccinated.
The importance of social distancing and wearing a mask has not changed. Even after receiving the vaccine, following the CDC’s Covid-19 protocol is recommended because the building of antibodies can take time. I know 2021 is a new year and there is reason to hope, but in order to return to our old society, we must all work together to protect each other from this extremely contagious pathogen. That includes wearing a mask whenever in a public place, staying 6ft away from other people, and limiting exposure to friends/family until the daily cases are falling.