RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Secretary of North Carolina’s health department spoke Thursday to reinforce the safety and effectiveness of the coming COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Mandy Cohen’s comments come as the state set new records in key COVID-19 metrics such as new daily lab-confirmed cases and hospitalizations.
These new developments in the spread of the virus led Cohen say she is “very worried.”
However, North Carolina could begin receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine by mid-December, Cohen said.
“Although vaccines were developed quickly over the course of this year, corners were not cut,” Cohen said. “The vaccines were built on years of work in developing vaccines for similar viruses – such as SARS.”
The state health director said billions of dollars have been spent to allow clinical trials to proceed without delay and allow the vaccine to be produced at the same time.
More than 70,000 people took part in the clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, according to Cohen. She said both companies recruited people from historically marginalized populations to take part in the trials.
The Pfizer trial had non-whites make up 41 percent of the participants – 26 percent were Hispanic/LatinX and 10 percent Black, Cohen said.
Moderna’s trial included 37 percent of non-whites.
Cohen went on to say those at the FDA and other approving bodies are not political appointees.
“The process is independent and transparent,” she said.
“It is important for people to understand that there is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine. The vaccine imitates the infection. So our bodies think a germ like the virus or COVID is attacking,” Cohen said.
North Carolina could receive around 85,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by mid-December.
Click here to read more about the state’s vaccine distribution plan.