Craven County health officials are working out details for how a COVID-19 vaccine would be distributed in the county once one becomes available, which could be soon.

“We are hearing that we may get our first shipments in December,” said Scott Harrelson, Craven County health director.

For more New Bern Post COVID-19 coverage, go here.

Health departments, hospitals, private offices, and pharmacies are slated to receive the vaccine for distribution, he said.

“We are not sure how many doses we will receive right now,” Harrelson said. “They will most likely be a two dose vaccine, three to four weeks apart. There are different risk groups—long-term care residents, high-risk individuals, and front-line medical staff will be at the top of the list.”

Craven County has 2,898 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Of those, 219 are active, 6 are hospitalized, and 69 have died of COVID-19-related causes.

The balance, 2,610, have recovered.

Of the 2,898 cases, 30 have been related to out of state travel, 603 are from community transmission (40 in the last week alone), 1,779 are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case, 258 are still being investigated, and 228 are unknown.

The goal for Operation Warp  is to deliver safe vaccines that work, with the first supply becoming available before the end of 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

When a vaccine is authorized or approved in the United States, there may not be enough doses available for all adults. Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.

The federal government will oversee a centralized system to order, distribute, and track COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines will be ordered through CDC. Vaccine providers will receive vaccines from CDC’s centralized distributor or directly from a vaccine manufacturer.

Many COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in development, and clinical trials are being conducted at the same time with large-scale manufacturing.

With first doses expected before the end of 2020, planning and preparing for a COVID-19 vaccination program is very important.

Planning efforts have focused on every step and detail of the process, including:

  • Establishing and testing logistics plans with manufacturers and commercial partners that are part of CDC’s centralized COVID-19 vaccine delivery system
  • Coordinating the first distribution of vaccines and needed supplies from centralized locations
  • Ordering processes for additional doses of the vaccine after the first supply has been shipped
  • Receiving, storing, and handling vaccines properly at very specific temperatures
  • Deciding who should receive a vaccine first, based on national recommendations, if there are not enough doses of the vaccine for everyone
  • Giving the vaccines in a safe way during an ongoing pandemic
  • Reporting on vaccine inventory, administration, and safety using a variety of new and enhanced data systems
  • Expanding safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as scaling up existing safety monitoring systems
  • Developing plans to assess vaccine effectiveness, which means how well the vaccines protect against COVID-19 under real-life conditions
  • Making sure timely, credible, and clear communication is provided to the public and stakeholders around all aspects of the vaccination program

This situation continues to change, and planning will progress as more information about any authorized or approved vaccines becomes available. A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the U.S. strategy to reduce COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help society function as it did before COVID-19. The goal of the U.S. government is to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for all people in the United States who choose to be vaccinated.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for checking up on this. It is very discouraging to see the health department has failed to think through the specifics of distribution. The number of vaccines the county receives is a totally separate issue from having a plan to distribute. The plan should determine who or what gets how many doses from 1 to n.

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