Local health departments share possible plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Coronavirus

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Counties across the east are still seeing their numbers of new coronavirus cases rising each day. 

At the same time, they’re preparing for another phase of the pandemic, getting and sharing a COVID-19 vaccine. Lenoir County’s Health Director Pamela Brown said they’re seeing the virus spreading widely in the region. On Tuesday, her department processed more than 70 new cases and reported three more deaths.

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It’s clear that nearly everyone is tired of COVID-19, but Brown said people aren’t doing enough to make the virus go away. She said the same COVID-19 protocols they’ve been preaching about for months — including masks and distancing — are the best ways to combat the virus until vaccines are ready. 

North Carolina could see people getting the first coronavirus vaccine shots as early as this month. Brown’s department has been working on Lenoir County’s vaccine plans for months now. Her team is focusing on how vaccines will be delivered and distributed, especially tough because the Pfizer vaccine coming to North Carolina must be stored at temperatures far below freezing. 

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“Perhaps the manufacturer or the distributor gets it to you the day before you have your vaccine clinic,” Brown said. “That way you don’t have to worry about storing it at super super cold temperatures at your facility, because your plan is ‘I’m going to get it and that’s going to give me time to get it to the temperature I need to give it to somebody’.”

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Brown said widespread public vaccinations are still months away. She’s confident it will be safe, saying information released on the Pfizer vaccine shows few problems.

Anyone who might have questions or concerns can call their local health department or their doctor. In the meantime, she said staying home for the holidays this year is the safest way to prevent any spread of the coronavirus. 

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