CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina health officials are providing more distribution plans as of COVID-19 vaccine is nearing approval.
The state announced that 11 facilities, including three in the WBTV viewing area, will receive the early shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Those facilities include Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Catawba Valley Medical Center and The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMC Enterprise) - Atrium Health.
These other facilities across North Carolina will also receive an early shipment of vaccines:
- Bladen Healthcare LLC (Bladen County Hospital)
- Caldwell Memorial Hospital
- CarolinaEast Medical Center
- Catawba Valley Medical Center
- Cumberland County Hospital System Inc (Cape Fear Valley Health System)
- Duke University Health System
- Henderson County Hospital Corporation (Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital)
- Hoke Healthcare LLC (Hoke Hospital)
- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMC Enterprise) - Atrium Health
- University of North Carolina Shared Services Agreement
- Wake Forest Baptist Health
North Carolina health officials say more hospitals will also get vaccine shipments during Phase 1a.
“Once a vaccine is authorized for use, supplies will be very limited at first,” health officials said in a statement. “Independent federal and state groups of experts determined that the best way to fight COVID-19 is to start first with vaccinations for those most at risk.”
The initial supply of vaccines will all go to a limited number of hospitals to vaccinate health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 – those who are caring for or cleaning areas used by patients with COVID-19.
Health officials say that because of the limited initial vaccine supply, not all hospitals will receive vaccine initially.
“As more vaccine becomes available, it will be distributed to more of the state’s hospitals and to our local health departments to focus on vaccinating high-risk health care workers,” state health officials say.
Long-term care staff and residents will also be in the first group to receive the vaccine.
The majority of long term care facilities will be vaccinated with state allocated vaccine by the federal pharmacy partnership for LTC with CVS and Walgreens.
Following these groups will be adults with two more chronic conditions that the CDC has defined as putting them at high risk for serious illness. If the FDA grants Emergency Use Authorization, a CDC committee will review the data and recommendations based on which populations should receive the vaccine.
North Carolina health officials say a COVID-19 vaccine could be in their hands within days, even possibly as early as Dec. 15, if approved and cleared to be distributed.
Health officials expect their first vaccine shipment to contain about 85,000 doses.
While doses will be in short supply early on, officials are making plans on who will be eligible to receive the vaccine first.
Healthcare workers, those at long-term living facilities, the elderly, and those significantly at-risk will be given vaccine priority.
“Our job is to get them to people as quickly and effectively as possible,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. “North Carolina is working hard to hit the ground running once these vaccines are approved and shipped.”
Cooper said last week that North Carolina health officials are preparing to receive the vaccine produced by Pfizer, which must be held in ultra-cold storage. Health officials said early trials have shown the vaccine to be 95 percent effective.
Moderna is also working on a COVID-19 vaccine that has shown positive early results.
Officials say a COVID-19 vaccine will be free no matter if you have health insurance or not.
Tryon Medical Partners CEO Dr. Dale Owen explained what effects you could feel after taking a vaccine.
“More likely to have sensitivity at the site of injection, some redness or soreness there. Sometimes muscle aches or low-grade temperate from around one or two days. That’s been the main group of symptoms,” said Owen.
He says both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have proven to be effective during testing.