COVID-19 vaccines now in all NC counties; vaccinations in nursing homes start next week

Friday, December 25, 2020
COVID-19 vaccines now in all NC counties
These deliveries didn't come from Santa, but they for sure have been on many Americans' wish list.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- These deliveries didn't come from Santa, but they for sure have been on many Americans' wish list.

"It was super exciting," Ryah Koprowski, a hospital social worker, told ABC11 about receiving the first dose of the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine. "It went really smoothly and the process was easy."

At least 25,000 North Carolinians like Koprowski have gotten the shot, and tens of thousands of doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are arriving at hospitals and local health departments in all of the state's 100 counties.

"It's definitely a big bounce," Koprowski said. "A lot of hope this is going to come to an end. I'm not taking my mask off and will not stop social distancing--not now and not after the second shot--but every person vaccinated is one step closer to the end."

As many as 53 hospitals received Pfizer vaccine doses this week, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Those hospitals are equipped with special freezers which are needed to store Pfizer's vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine, which earned Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA this week, does not need those freezers and are thus giving more flexibility to others; state officials confirm Moderna doses are being supplied to 157 locations, including 60 hospitals and 97 local health departments.

"This is just a really exciting time. We're excited that the vaccine is coming and has come," Michael Zelek, Chatham County Health Director, said. He also explained his staff was able to get tips and learn from other hospitals and counties experiences to help solidify Chatham County's own logistics plans.

"The Moderna vaccine can stay in the freezer until its expiration date. Once it's in the fridge it has 30 days. Once it comes out, once you start, you're dealing with a matter of hours so you want to make sure those ten doses are accounted for. The last thing we want is for vaccine to go to waste. That's what we're working home very hard to avoid."

On Monday, vaccinations will begin at the first assisted living facilities in the state with help from CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.

According to CVS, nearly 128,000 will get vaccinated at nearly 900 locations over the next three months across the state. Walgreens, meanwhile, shared only that their national strategy includes vaccinating 3 million.