RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper had another COVID press conference Tuesday to announce plans for a SARS-CoV2 vaccine from Pfizer to be distributed here in North Carolina. The first doses could come before Christmas.
The supply will come in tranches, but first they have to clear bureaucratic hurdles. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meets on December 10 to decide on Pfizer’s emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine. Presuming that authorization is granted, N.C. Health Czar Mandy Cohen said the first allotment will come on December 15, and progress weekly from there.
Cooper said the first tranche, about 85,000 doses, will go to hospital workers first, followed by other healthcare workers and those in nursing homes. Availability to the general public then will necessarily come at least several weeks after that.
Pfizer’s drug, the first out of the gate and sporting over 90 percent effectiveness, is given in two doses, taken about three weeks apart. It’s reportedly uncomfortable, and can induce some flu like symptoms.
The logistics of handling the vaccine is not as straightforward as you might think, however. It must be stored at really cold temperatures. Really cold: -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 Celsius).
That makes distribution a little more difficult, but a small hurdle to overcome in order to gain an effective vaccine that may or may not end the Pandemic Panic. Actually, while North Carolina has chosen to work with Pfizer, there are now a handful of drug companies bringing impressive vaccines. Moderna and AstraZeneca both have vaccines going live with over 90+ percent effectiveness.
All of the politics aside, that’s a great sight to see barely a year after the emergence of a brand new global pandemic virus. And most of that medical innovation is coming from America, who, despite her current afflictions, still brings the Herculean effort needed to save the free world from a collective threat.