RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/WAVY) – Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolina is preparing to receive and distribute an FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.
Cooper’s announcement comes as North Carolina set a new high for hospitalizations on Tuesday with 2,033. Tuesday marks the fifth straight day the state has set a new record for hospitalizations.
“As concerning as the numbers are, I and many other North Carolinians have newfound hope in the development of promising vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer both have produced vaccines with remarkable early results, better than health experts ever hoped for,” Cooper said.
North Carolina is preparing to receive the Pfizer vaccine which requires “ultra-cold storage” at -94 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Health care workers, people in long-term care and those at risk for severe illness will come first. But when it’s my turn to get this vaccine, I’ll be ready to roll up my sleeve,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the state health department has been working for months on a plan to distribute the vaccine.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will be free regardless of whether someone has health insurance,” Cooper said. “In order for this to work, we need to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
He added that the first shipment of the vaccine to North Carolina is expected to include about 85,000 doses.
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen said, “COVID-19 vaccines will help us defeat this virus and get back to the people and the places we love.”
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and its external advisory committee are reviewing two vaccines this month. Dr. Cohen explained that once the FDA approves at least one vaccine, states will receive a limited supply at first.
To determine who will get the vaccine first, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine convened an independent COVID-19 advisory committee. Dr. Cohen said the NCDHHS will look to their guidance as well as guidance from the National Academy of Medicine on equitable distribution of vaccines.
**This is a developing story. Keep refreshing for updates from WAVY.com**
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