North Carolina Submits COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Blog | October 19, 2020


On Friday, October 16, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) submitted the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. The COVID-19 Vaccination Plan details state activities with the goal of immunizing everyone who is eligible for and wants a COVID-19 vaccine.


According to NC DHHS:

North Carolina’s vaccine plan reflects five principles that guide the planning for and distribution of one or more COVID-19 vaccines in the state. The principles include:

  1. All North Carolinians have equitable access to vaccines.
  2. Vaccine planning and distribution is inclusive; actively engages state and local government, public and private partners; and draws upon the experience and expertise of leaders from historically marginalized populations.
  3. Transparent, accurate and frequent public communications is essential to building trust.
  4. Data is used to promote equity, track progress and guide decision-making.
  5. Appropriate stewardship of resources and continuous evaluation and improvement drive successful implementation.

Currently, multiple vaccines are in development. For a vaccine to be authorized, studies must show it is safe and can prevent someone from catching COVID-19. Thousands of people have volunteered to be part of research trials across the United States and around the world to see if a vaccine is safe and prevents COVID-19 illness. Promising vaccines are being manufactured at the same time they are being tested, so there will be an initial supply when the science shows which vaccines are found to be safe and effective.


Once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine, it will take time for manufacturers to ramp up production. Therefore, states will receive limited vaccine supplies at the start and will need to determine which populations receive the vaccine first. North Carolina’s prioritization framework was developed based on the National Academy of Medicine framework and in consultation with an external COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee convened by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.

Starting in September, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine convened the NC COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee to provide feedback to NC DHHS on the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. The Advisory Committee is comprised of stakeholders including public health experts, health care providers, advocacy organization leaders, and representatives of essential workers and at-risk populations. The Advisory Committee provided expert guidance on the development of the plan’s prioritization framework, and will continue to support its successful operationalizing and public awareness activities about vaccination activities, especially for prioritized and historically marginalized populations. Committee members focused on ensuring a sound base of science, equity, and operational feasibility.


"Our convening of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee informed the state’s plan with independent and diverse perspectives from experts and community leaders across our state. The committee was composed of a broad range of leaders, including from those populations most significantly affected by COVID-19, as well as from health care, public health, and academia, who worked diligently over the past month in order to fully address equity, inequalities and health issues that are driving the pandemic and creating mistrust," Michelle Ries, Interim Director, North Carolina Institute of Medicine.

The NCIOM Vaccine Advisory Committee was co-chaired by:


  • Dr. Goldie Byrd, Director, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University;
  • Dr. Leah Devlin, Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management at UNC School of Public Health; and
  • Dr. Art Apolinario, a family medicine physician at Clinton Medical Clinic and Board member of the North Carolina Medical Society.


This COVID-19 Vaccination Plan will continue to be revised based on further federal guidance, ongoing safety and efficacy data from clinical trials, and input from the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee and other state and local partners.


North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccination Plan


NC DHHS Press Release, October 16, 2020