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NC Health Officials Announce an Update on COVID-19 Vaccine as Bladen County Confirms Another Related Death

Bladen County Health and Human Services Agency confirmed another COVID-19 related death today as North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and Division of Public Health Pharmacist Dr. Amanda Fuller Moore held a press briefing about COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccines and the distribution of those vaccines in North Carolina.

According to state health officials, there have been 410,527 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in North Carolina and 5,661 related deaths.

In Bladen County there are a total of 1,474 confirmed positive  COVID-19 cases with 132 active cases. The local officials reported an additional coronavirus related death in their update today. The deaths related to COVID-19 in Bladen County now totals 21.

Cohen confirmed NC expects to receive vaccines made by Pfizer next week. Pfizer and BioNTech (the Sponsor) submitted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) request to FDA for an investigational COVID-19 vaccine on November 20, 2020.

The Pfizer vaccine does not have the COVID-19 virus in it, according to Dr. Cohen, but the vaccine is formulated in lipid nanoparticles (LNPs).

“We want as many people as possible in the state of North Carolina to get vaccinated,” Dr. Cohen stated, “But it is going to take some time with the limited supply.”

Hospital workers, long term care residents and health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine according to the state’s plan.

Pfizer’s plan submitted to the FDA, states the vaccine is “for active immunization for the prevention of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The proposed dosing regimen is two doses, administered 21 days apart.”

“The second dosage is extremely important,” Dr. Fuller Moore said as she explained how officials plan to send out reminders to those receiving the vaccine.

Bladen County Health and Human Services Director, Dr. Teresa (Terri) Duncan confirmed Bladen County would be one of the first to receive the much anticipated COVID-19 vaccine for the most at risk population. Bladen County Hospital is now on the list to receive the vaccine as early as next week.

According to NCDHHS the first shipment of vaccines will go to Bladen County Hospital, Caldwell Memorial Hospital, CarolinaEast Medical Center, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Cape Fear Valley Health System, Duke University Health System, Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital, Hoke Hospital, The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, Wake Forest Baptist Health.

According to the plan, vaccines require cold chain storage and handling requirements for all COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Cohen explained the storage process each facility will be responsible for maintaining during today’s press conference.

There are four U.S. backed vaccine candidates in the third phase of trials. After the Pfizer vaccine, the next expected approved vaccine backed by the U.S. is from the biotech firm Moderna. They have submitted a EUA application to the FDA as well.

Pfizer and Moderna have said that taking their vaccines could result in side effects. The side effects reported are considered mild COVID-19 symptoms. Some of the side effects are muscle pain, chills and a headache.

Fine related information for reference purposes is linked below.

https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/NC-COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-with-Executive-Summary.pdf

https://www.fda.gov/media/144245/download

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