Local health expert shares insight on potential COVID-19 vaccine


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)  — Pitt County health leaders say they’re optimistic about COVID-19 vaccine developments, but they want people to know it won’t be ready for everyone immediately.

Pitt County health workers are seeing increases in local positive cases but they’re also seeing increases in coronavirus testing. Biotech companies like Moderna and Pfizer are reporting their potential vaccines are about 95% effective in preventing the virus.

NC’s daily percent positive rate jumps to 9.2%; hospitalizations reach new record again

Storage requirements could affect some vaccine distribution. The one from Pfizer has to be stored more than 158 degrees below zero, requiring hard-to-get custom freezers. The Moderna vaccine also has to be frozen, but at temperatures like in your own home freezer.

Pitt County Health Director John Silvernail said we could be weeks away from seeing the first vaccine in our area.

“It may not be until after the holidays and then it will be on a tier distribution,” Silvernail said. “We know some of these candidate vaccines that look promising were being produced in larger quantities for distribution, but there is still going to be a lag, I think, and supply versus potential demand. 

Tier distribution means groups facing higher risk of covid exposure, like healthcare workers and first responders, would get it before the general public.

With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, Silvernail wants to remind people to practice the three W’s, even around family.

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