State’s COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tion plan out­lines pri­or­i­ties

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY LYNN BON­NER lbon­ner@new­sob­server.com

There aren’t go­ing to be enough coro­n­avirus shots for ev­ery­one who wants them when the first vac­cines emerge from the test­ing phase and get ap­proved for pub­lic use. So who gets them first?

North Carolina is propos­ing that health care work­ers at high risk of ex­po­sure, EMTs, fire­fight­ers and other es­sen­tial work­ers, and longterm care staff and res­i­dents would be in line for the first doses.

That’s ac­cord­ing to the state’s pro­posal for vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion sent to the CDC. Fri­day was the dead­line for states to sub­mit the plans.

People at high risk of se­vere ill­ness and death from COVID-19, es­pe­cially those who work at jobs with a high risk of ex­po­sure or liv­ing in con­gre­gate set­tings would also be part of Phase 1 of vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion, when sup­plies are lim­ited.

“At the be­gin­ning, we need to un­der­stand that there is only go­ing to be a lim­ited sup­ply of those vac­cines, so we’re go­ing to have to pri­or­i­tize cer­tain folks who will be able to get ac­cess to that vac­cine at first,” said Dr. Mandy Co­hen, sec­re­tary of the state Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, at a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day, The News & Ob­server re­ported.

The state’s goal is to im­mu­nize ev­ery­one who is el­i­gi­ble and wants to be vac­ci­nated, the plan says.

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion pub­lished a 57-page in­terim play­book last month ask­ing states to make plans for a va­ri­ety of sce­nar­ios. That in­cludes when lim­ited sup­plies of COVID-19 vac­cine are avail­able, when a large number of doses are avail­able, and when there’s a sur­plus.

The CDC sug­gests that health care work­ers, people at-risk of se­vere ill­ness from COVID-19, and other es­sen­tial work­ers be in­cluded in the first wave of people to be vac­ci­nated.

Dr. An­thony Fauci, di­rec­tor of the na­tional In­sti­tute of Al­lergy and In­fec­tious Diseases, told CBS News on Wed­nes­day that he ex­pects to know by the end of the year whether there’s a safe and ef­fec­tive vac­cine. A vac­cine could be widely avail­able by April 2021, he said.

Co­hen said Thurs­day that a number of vac­cines are in tri­als now but have yet to be ap­proved by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion. This week, Eli Lilly and John­son &

John­son both halted their Phase III tri­als, ac­cord­ing to nu­mer­ous me­dia re­ports, af­ter safety con­cerns.

Co­hen said that shows the process is “work­ing right.”

“They are look­ing to make sure that that all of the vac­cines that come out of these tri­als, that would go for ap­proval, are go­ing to be safe and ef­fec­tive,” she said. “And so I think the process is work­ing as in­tended.”

FOUR PHASES OF DIS­TRI­BU­TION

North Carolina’s 145page in­terim plan, pre­pared by the vac­ci­na­tion plan­ning team, de­scribes four phases of vac­cine dis­tri­bu­tion.

It es­ti­mates that up to 951,000 people would be in Phase 1.

Phase 2 would kick in when both vac­cine sup­ply and de­mand are high and would in­volve vac­ci­nat­ing up to 1.57 mil­lion people. Phase 2 in­cludes teach­ers and school staff, mi­grants work­ers in con­gre­gate liv­ing ar­range­ments who don’t have two or more chronic con­di­tions and in­car­cer­ated people. It also in­cludes res­i­dents of home­less shel­ters, and front­line work­ers, who are rel­a­tively healthy, adults 18-64 years old with one chronic con­di­tion, and people 65 and older with one or no chronic con­di­tions.

Phase 3, de­scribed as the time when there’s low de­mand and plenty of sup­ply, would in­clude up to 767,000 people — work­ers in crit­i­cal in­dus­tries that weren’t part of the first two phases, and stu­dents. Get­ting people vac­ci­nated in this phase will look a lot like the sea­sonal flu campaign, the state plan says.

Ev­ery­one else, up to 4 mil­lion people, would be in Phase 4.

The state drew up its plan un­der the as­sump­tion that lim­ited vac­cine doses will be avail­able at the end of this year, with the sup­ply in­creas­ing in 2021. The plan also as­sumes people will need two doses of the vac­cine and in­cludes how the people will be re­minded to get their se­cond dose.

The plan an­tic­i­pates that people are go­ing to be hes­i­tant to get vac­ci­nated. A re­cent Gallup poll found that half of Amer­i­cans won’t get an FDA-ap­proved COVID-19 vac­cine.

The state plan in­cludes a com­mu­ni­ca­tion ef­fort that will aim to con­vey the ben­e­fits and risks of a vac­cine, help people make in­formed de­ci­sions, and let them know where they can get shots.

THEY ARE LOOK­ING TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT ALL OF THE VAC­CINES THAT COME OUT OF THESE TRI­ALS, THAT WOULD GO FOR AP­PROVAL, ARE GO­ING TO BE SAFE AND EF­FEC­TIVE. AND SO I THINK THE PROCESS IS WORK­ING AS IN­TENDED.

Dr. Mandy Co­hen, sec­re­tary of the state Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices

CHERYL GERBER Cour­tesy of John­son & John­son via AP, File

This Septem­ber photo pro­vided by John­son & John­son shows a sin­gle-dose COVID-19 vac­cine be­ing de­vel­oped by the com­pany.

File photo

“At the be­gin­ning, we need to un­der­stand that there is only go­ing to be a lim­ited sup­ply of those vac­cines, so we’re go­ing to have to pri­or­i­tize cer­tain folks who will be able to get ac­cess to that vac­cine at first,” said Dr. Mandy Co­hen, sec­re­tary of the state Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.