“Our tendencies are worrying,” North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen told a news conference Tuesday. “People go to the emergency department and the positive percentage has increased. A lot of people are seriously ill with COVID.”
But Cooper said there is hope on the horizon with FDA approval for the Pfizer and Modern vaccines.
Watch: Gov. Roy Cooper explains Govt-19 vaccine distribution
He said North Carolina is preparing to receive the Pfizer vaccine, which requires intensive cold storage.
“We are a large state with hundreds of miles of countryside,” he said. “Every person is important. We will work hard to overcome the challenges our geography presents.”
Cooper said the government expects to get a version of the vaccine because “Pfizer was the first to see the approvals, so we think it will be the first to be available and approved.”
84,800 is the number of quantities reported to the State to be received with the first ship.
“We look forward to it this time,” he said.
Cooper said the ship will be shipped as soon as the vaccine is approved, and there will be a second allotment when it becomes available later.
“When we get the first vaccine, we know we will only focus on hospitals,” he said. “It has the first 85,000 sizes.”
Then the government will focus on people in long-term care systems.
Thereafter, adults with two or more conditions are at increased risk for COVID-19, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Cooper added: “When we get the second vaccine, we get a weekly dose of two vaccines, and we act on our preferred population.
Dr. Leah Devlin, a UNC professor and former Wake County Director of Health, is on the Govt-19 immunization team at the NC Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Devlin said the team first helped determine who would get the vaccine. The goal is to vaccinate 75% of people in North Carolina.
“It takes a while for everyone to be immunized,” Dr. Devlin said. “Our hope is that in the summer, we will have enough vaccine and make it available to everyone who takes it.”
Dr. Devlin stressed the need to reach out to marginalized, traditionally low-income communities and those reluctant to vaccinate.
“We need to make sure that we communicate well with the general public, especially the people, so that it is a safe vaccine, an effective vaccine and that people understand when and where to get vaccinated.”
Question and Answer: Dr. Leah Devlin talks about the goals for COVID-19 distribution in North Carolina
Cooper said state officials expect him to be vaccinated next week on Dec. 15 or 16.
Additional allocations will take place once a week.
Importantly, the governor assured residents that the vaccine would be free, even for those whose insurance did not cover it.
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