North Carolina Developing A Plan On How To Distribute A Coronavirus Vaccine

CHARLOTTE, NC. —   North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services received a letter from the federal government last week saying the state needs to make preparations for a COVID-19 vaccine. DHHS is working with local health departments and other partners to implement a large-scale distribution and immunization program as soon as there is an authorized vaccine.

“So the planning does need to start now and has already started amongst my team and with our external stakeholders. Thinking about both priority groups who would be first in line to get the vaccine. As well as how we do the distribution,” says state health director Dr. Mandy Cohen.

Dr. Cohen says there’s still a lot of science left to do.

“There are trials going on right now in North Carolina. Phase 3 trials that aren’t even fully enrolled.”

New guidance from the CDC sent to officials in all 50 states outlined the possibility of rolling out a vaccine by late October. Doctor Anthony Fauci doubts it can happen that quickly.

“I think most of the people feel it’s going to be November, December, but that does not mean that if there are a number of infections within a particular trial that allows you to make a decision sooner, rather than later, it is conceivable that you could have it by October though. I don’t think that that’s likely,” says Dr. Fauci.

The CDC says healthcare professionals, essential workers, national security employees and residents and staff in long-term care facilities should be first in line for a vaccine. There could be an estimated 15 million doses available by the end of the year.