Last week the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) released a brief update on the status of COVID-19 vaccine trials, along with answers to some frequently asked questions. The update notes that:
- Results of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials have been promising.
- No serious side effects have been reported, although minor side effects like sore arms, fevers, and tiredness 24-48 hours after the vaccine have been reported.
- Pfizer applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on November 20 and a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee will meet for review on December 10.
- Moderna applied for an EUA on November 30 and the FDA advisory committee will meet for review on December 17.
- Several vaccines, including those from Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses taken a few weeks apart. North Carolina has developed a secure data system called the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to manage details for those who are vaccinated.
- States will initially receive a limited supply of vaccine doses based on population.
- Prioritization plans for the order of distributing vaccine in North Carolina were developed by the NC DHHS with guidance from the National Academy of Medicine, the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice, and the NC COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, which is convened by the NCIOM.
- Initial supplies of vaccine will be distributed to a “limited number of hospitals to vaccinate health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
- Long-term care staff and residents are also at the top of the priority list.
- Vaccination will be free for everyone regardless of insurance status.
In coming weeks, NC DHHS will develop answers to more FAQs. As more information becomes available, local health departments and health care providers will be able to answer questions for people who want to find out more about when and how they might receive a vaccine.