North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that residents will be receiving the upcoming Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for free in North Carolina, once it is available. The announcement came at the Governor’s weekly COVID-19 press update.
“Our state is preparing to receive the Pfizer vaccine that requires ultra-cold storage. We’re a big state with rural areas that stretch for hundreds of miles. Every person is important, and we’ll work hard to overcome challenges that our geography presents,” Cooper said. “The COVID-19 vaccine will be free regardless of whether someone has health insurance. Health care providers are being enrolled in the vaccination program based on the ability to reach priority populations. Trusted providers like hospitals will be among the first to vaccinate people.”
The Pfizer vaccine is one of two major vaccines announced recently. A health committee in North Carolina has determined the initial priority for vaccines across the state, Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be free regardless of whether someone has health insurance. Health care providers are being enrolled in the vaccination program based on ability to reach priority populations. Trusted providers like hospitals will be among the first to vaccinate people.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 1, 2020
The first COVID-19 vaccine batch delivered for free in North Carolina will be reserved for high-risk medical workers in the state. As more become available, residents and staff of long-term care settings will be prioritized, Cohen said. After that, other high-risk individuals with two or more chronic conditions will be prioritized.
“I have confidence in this process. Health care workers, people in long-term care, and those at risk for severe illness will come first,” Cooper said. “But when it’s my turn to get this vaccine, I’ll be ready to roll up my sleeve.”
Cohen and Cooper said it will be several months before vaccines will be available for all residents of North Carolina, as the state only has a small allotment of them coming initially. They encouraged diligence in staying safe in the meantime.
“Within the next few weeks, there will likely be at least one approved vaccine. And with hope so close on the horizon, we have to keep using the tools we know to slow the spread of this virus to help save lives during the next few months. Don’t give up now when help is on the way.”