Triangle hospitals prepare for more vaccines, FDA ruling on Moderna

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Thursday, WakeMed will be the next healthcare system in the Triangle to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The Raleigh campus told ABC11 it is expecting 3,900 initial shipments with an allotment reserved for staff at its Cary hospital.

However, all vaccinations, which are set to begin Friday, will be done at the Raleigh location. This is being done specifically because it's the only campus with the ultra-cold freezer to store the vaccine.

WakeMed also does not want to compromise the integrity of the vaccine in transporting to other facilities around the region.

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Wednesday, Duke University Hospital vaccinated 30 people at its university and regional hospitals; respectively. Inoculations of the vaccine are schedule to start Thursday at Duke Raleigh. Duke is also preparing to increase the amount of people per day getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as staff becomes more familiar with how to follow the state's procedures for administration.

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UNC Health currently has more than 350 employees scheduled for vaccinations at its main hospital in Chapel Hill and its Hillsborough campus. A representative for UNC Health said they expect to get through all 2,925 doses of the vaccine by late next week and expect to receive more doses as their supply begins to run low.

UNC REX is scheduled to receive 2,925 doses Thursday as well.

As one of only 37 sites selected, the Durham Veterans Affairs hospital is the only VA in the state who will be giving vaccines to its employees. Duke VA received 2,925 doses Wednesday morning and have already begun vaccinations and expect to continue with inoculations through this weekend.

Thursday, the FDA is set to discuss Moderna's application for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna's can be administered to people ages 18 and up and does not require ultra-cold freezer storage.

Should the Moderna vaccine be approved, it will be "particularly useful in settings with smaller groups to be vaccinated in Phase 1a or in settings where ultra-cold storage is unavailable," a rep for the NCDHHS wrote in an email to ABC11. "As such, the state anticipates allocating Moderna to both local health departments and hospitals."

"The Moderna vaccine would give us more flexibility to provide vaccine to some smaller hospitals that don't need as many doses," said a UNC Health spokesperson.
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