The late Dr. Karyn Hargett, medical director of the Old North State Medical Society (ONSMS) COVID Project, was posthumously honored with the Samuel L. Katz, M.D. Excellence in Immunization Award at the 2024 North Carolina Immunization Conference held on May 9, 2024, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel at Research Triangle Park, NC.

The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding individuals or agencies/organizations that have developed innovative strategies, projects, or programs to increase childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization coverage rates. Nominees were assessed based on tenets such as effectiveness, innovation, and project replication ability.

Under the expert direction of Dr. Hargett, ONSMS was able to get into rural communities and make a tremendous difference. During the course of the COVID Project, ONSMS vaccination teams provided over 31,000 vaccinations and 3500 tests at over 1500 events.

Dr. Karen Smith, an active member of the Downeast COVID team and the 2023 NC Rural Leadership Award warmly remembers Dr. Hargett with these words, “(She) was methodically meticulous to ensure ONSMS reports were correct, public vaccination was done with safety in mind and the reputation of physicians who believe in and care for the community was echoed throughout North Carolina.