Charlotte area hospitals preparing to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

Charlotte hospitals prepare to distribute vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Atrium Health and Novant Health are preparing to be distribution sites for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Early data shows the vaccine is 90 percent effective in preventing the coronavirus.

“We have millions of doses of the vaccine already prepared and Pfizer will be producing up to 20 million a month over the next several months," US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CBS News.

Azar said the most vulnerable populations would get the covid-19 vaccine through Pfizer starting in December, health care workers and first responders by the end of January, and all Americans by the end of March or early April.

“We’ll have to wait and see how those numbers play out as we get more data, but the preliminary information we’ve heard is very positive,” Dr. Lewis McCurdy with Atrium Health told WBTV.

Dr. McCurdy says Atrium Health already purchased the specific refrigerator units required to keep hundreds of thousands of doses for various vaccines to come.

“I think it’s going to behoove us all to have multiple vaccines that are actually available, rather than putting all our hats in one vaccine,” he said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Novant Health confirms their hospital system is also preparing:

“Novant Health participates with the North Carolina Vaccine Advisory Team as well as collaborates with county officials on distribution plans. We are an approved vaccination administration site and will be partnering with the state on a distribution plan when a product is available. This plan includes a vaccine prioritization framework and we are working to ensure our commitment to diversity and inclusion is included in this planning. While we await a safe and effective vaccine to be approved, we are working diligently to ensure we have the operations and tools in place to immediately begin vaccine procurement and distribution.”

“I think the more the better,” Dr. McCurdy said. “We’ll have to wait and see how much vaccine we get and how much each hospital system in our community is delivered. We hope to have a concerted effort between the systems so we can get it out to the most people we can.”

As they prepare, they are also educating.

“Hopefully we can give the confidence to people that this vaccine is safe and very important in trying to reduce the number of coronavirus infections,” he said.

A major aspect of their education comes through their STRIVE vaccine registry. You can sign up to learn more about the process of the vaccine and consider paticipating in a clinical trial.

For more information about Atrium Health’s COVID-19 research registry, call 833-451-1188, visit AtriumHealth.org/COVIDVACCINE or email STRIVEVaccineRegistry@atriumhealth.org.

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