State to initially receive 85,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 10:41 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 9:18 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - State health officials said North Carolina will initially receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine once it gets final approved by the FDA.

It comes as hospitalizations for the virus hit an all-time high of 1,966 people on Monday.

Governor Cooper says Pfizer was the first to ask for authorization of a vaccine so that’s why North Carolina is planning to use it.

DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state will at first receive 85,000 doses of the vaccine, which will go to a select number of hospital health care workers who have a high risk of contracting the virus, and then as more is available staff and residents at long term care facilities will receive it.

By January, Cohen hopes adults with two or more chronic health conditions will receive the vaccine. She said it will not be a quick fix, and that it will take several months for everyone to get vaccinated.

Cohen said too many people are getting seriously ill, noting that already COVID-19 has killed more than three times the number of people who have died from the flu in North Carolina in the past decade.

She said the earliest they expect to see the first doses would be the end of next week.

Gov. Roy Cooper said there are concerns that some people will not want to get vaccinated. He stressed that an independent, non-political advisory board will first review the vaccine before any of it is distributed.

Cooper said the distribution process will be complicated. He said those getting vaccinated will need to get the initial shot, and then a second one 21 days later.

Just before Thanksgiving, Cooper enacted stricter mask requirements for the state and urged local governments to step up enforcement efforts. Very few, if any, government bodies in Eastern Carolina took any action.

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