Pfizer Vaccine Approved; Local Health Officials Detail Roll Out

CHARLOTTE, NC – A vote of confidence and major step forward for the Pfizer vaccine following a marathon meeting at the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine approval means people will be receiving the vaccine as early as next week. 

 “We have found the information to be adequate to support emergency use authorization of the vaccine,” said Dr. Doran Fink, the Deputy Director with the FDA Division of Vaccines.

The vaccine is to be distributed across the country.  

“20 million people should get vaccinated in just the next several weeks,” said Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary. 

In the next 24 hours, much of the vaccine will be shipped from Pfizer’s facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. First, going to hospitals and pharmacies nationwide that partnered with the federal government. Next, health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities are at the top of the list to get the vaccine. 

“You’re not actually receiving coronavirus, you’re receiving a protein that has your body mount an immune response to it,” said Dr. Andrea Reed, the Sr. Pharmacy Director at Novant Health. 

She says people who have previously contracted COVID-19 should still get the vaccine. 

“In those situations it is safe for someone to go ahead and get the covid vaccine,” said Reed.

She says she’s heard concerns about long term safety and how quickly the vaccine was developed, but believes there is little to worry about. 

“I do find that the safety data with the pfizer moderna studies so far has been reassuring and I personally feel very safe moving forward with those vaccines,” said Reed. 

Reed says muscle aches and fatigue are common side effects that people could experience. 

“We would expect to have that with those vaccines, but the fact that there is not serious safety concerns should give people a lot of reassurance,” said Reed. 

As health care providers and pharmacies prepare for storage and distribution of the COVID vaccine; Reed stresses the importance of navigating through the noise to get to the facts from health care providers. 

“The other thing is just to make sure that you are educated learning from reputable sites and health care professionals so that you’re able to make an informed decision based on your values and beliefs,” explained Reed. 

The Centers for Disease Control still needs to approve the vaccine before it can be administered. They are expected to approve the vaccine in the coming days.