North Carolina unveils plan to deploy coronavirus vaccine

North Carolina unveils plan to deploy coronavirus vaccine

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released their interim COVID-19 vaccination plan Friday, once a vaccine is available.

The 148-page draft lays out a lot of important details, including who gets the vaccine first. Healthcare providers and long-term care staff who are at high risk of exposure to the virus are at the top of the list.

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People considered high risk are next, which includes people in long-term care settings, people over 65 years old and those who work in congregate settings, such as jails and homeless shelters.

Lower-risk populations will get the vaccine after that.

People who want the vaccine would be able to get it at drug stores, and health care providers who enroll in a vaccine program can distribute it.

The state is expecting people to be hesitant to get a vaccine and has a plan for that too.

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Officials will launch a campaign based on earning public trust and to understand the benefits and risks of the vaccine. The campaign will also let people know how and where to get the vaccine.

The state hopes to get everyone who wants a vaccine vaccinated within nine months of it becoming available. But North Carolina expects to evaluate that guidance more closely over time.

North Carolina on Friday reported its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

Thirty-nine states have rising covid cases and 41 have rising hospitalization numbers. The Carolinas are part of both groups, making our need for a vaccine even more urgent.

Pfizer is already making hundreds of thousands of doses, even though it’s still in Phase 3 of trials. They hope to apply for government approval in about a month.

Moderna is in Phase 3 of their trials too, with some of those happening in Charlotte. They hope to apply for approval by Nov. 25.

The approval process could take several months.

Officials said it may be 2022 before some people get the vaccine. The World Health Organization said young, healthy people may be the last group to get vaccinated because they’re at lower risk to die from the virus.

Even though the vaccine would eventually be available to everyone, a surprising number of people say they wouldn’t get one. A recent Gallup poll shows only half of the U.S. population would get the vaccine right now, even if it was free. That’s down from 66% in July.

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