RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – 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. It needs to be administered in two doses 21 days apart.
State leaders said they’ve identified health care facilities across North Carolina that have the ability to store and administer the vaccine.
Cooper said it’s going to be a limited supply at first. They’re expecting to get about 85,000 doses in the first round.
“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.
It’s not clear at this point when the general public will have access to the vaccine.
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.
Multiple vaccines are currently being developed. The reason Pfizer is first is because it’s the one that requested authorizations.