Novant Health prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccine, pending FDA approval

Novant Health awaiting Pfizer vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Novant Health has been preparing to administer a COVD-19 vaccine for the last several months.

Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Services for the hospital system, Rebecca Bean, says they began preparing when recommendations for storage of the vaccine were released. She says Novant Health purchased several low-temperature freezers in order to properly store the vaccine when they received their allotment.

She says Novant Health has three designated distribution sites at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center. She expects there to be more distribution sites when the vaccine becomes available to more people, other than healthcare workers.

Bean explained how the Pfizer vaccine is different from a live vaccine.

The threat of vaccine hesitancy

“mRna vaccines take advantage of a process that cells use to make proteins in order to trigger an immune response and to build up an immunity against the coronavirus. In contrast to that, most vaccines use a weakened version of the virus or an inactive version of virus to generate an immune response in order to create antibodies. So, it’s just a different way to create that immune response in the body,” Bean said.

Some side effects from the vaccine include soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever, and headaches.

“That’s not uncommon when you get any vaccine to develop a low-grade fever because that’s your body building up immunity against the pathogen,” Bean said.

A recent poll from Elon University shows about 40 percent of North Carolinians say they will get the vaccine once its approved by the FDA. Another 40 percent say they are unsure of getting the vaccine, and 20 percent say they will not get the vaccine.

Duke University professors call vaccine hesitancy one of greatest public health challenges of our time

A group of Duke University professors said Wednesday, vaccine hesitancy will be the next big hurdle for public health officials to overcome.

“Vaccine hesitancy is going to be the risk factor a primary risk factor for deaths from covid in the next year. I think this will be one of the biggest health challenges of our time” Garry Bennett, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience for Duke University said.

“I will absolutely get the vaccine when its my turn. I have trust in the process, I know how this works, I plan to get the vaccine when it’s my turn,” Bean said.

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