By WECT Staff | December 3, 2020 at 1:13 PM EST – Updated December 3 at 7:46 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said North Carolina could start seeing thousands of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as early as mid-December.
Cohen said following the likely approval of Pfizer’s vaccine by the Federal Drug Administration, approximately 85,000 doses are expected to be shipped to the state with additional vaccine shipments arriving weekly.
The initial round of vaccines will go to a limited number of hospitals to inoculate healthcare workers who are in direct contact with Covid patients, and staff and patients at long-term care facilities.
After more vaccine doses become available, including the expected approval of Moderna’s vaccine, Cohen said state officials will then work with local health departments to vaccinate adults who are in the highest risk groups by early next year.
Record new cases, hospitalizations reported
On Thursday, North Carolina reported a record-breaking number of new daily COVID-19 cases with 5,637. The state also saw 2,101 hospitalizations associated with the virus, the highest number seen so far during the pandemic.
“I am very worried,” Cohen said. “I know this is a particularly hard time of year to stay home and away from family and friends, yet it is the best way we can take personal responsibility and show our care for them as we fight this global pandemic.”
With 5,410 COVID-19-related deaths, Cohen said the virus has killed three times as many North Carolinians as the flu has in the past decade.
“We must keep working together to protect our loved ones, to make sure our hospitals are there for those that need them, and to save lives,” Cohen said.
Cohen warned that anyone who attended a Thanksgiving gathering should get tested for the virus.
“Social gatherings can quickly become virus-spreading events, putting those who attended, and the larger community, at risk,” Cohen said. “We are so close to having the means to control this virus with a safe and effective vaccine.”
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