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Cornelius News

COVID-19 vaccine coming for those most at risk ‘in a few weeks’

Gov. Cooper at the Dec. 1 press conference

Dec. 1. By Dave Yochum. As cases of COVID-19 rise steadily, NC Gov. Roy Cooper said free COVID-19 vaccines are on the way in a few weeks, but “we need to keep doing what we know works,” including wearing masks and social distancing.

At a 3 pm press conference, the governor said COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed 2,000 statewide today.

“As concerning as the numbers are, we have hope in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” Cooper said. However, it will be several months before the vaccine is available to everyone across the state.

The state is preparing to receive the Pfizer vaccine which requires ultra-cold temperatures. The vaccine will be free, Cooper said. More than 84,000 doses are expected in the first shipment. Meanwhile, Novant and Atrium have already placed orders for suitable refrigeration units.

Preliminary data from Pfizer and Moderna indicate the vaccines highly effective.

Healthcare workers first in line

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen at Dec. 1 press conference

The first to receive the vaccine will be healthcare workers in hospitals who are at high risk for exposure, as well as adults in long-term care settings, then adults with two more chronic conditions that put them at higher risk for COVID-19.

The time frame for this demographic is further into January, according to NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

Cooper said North Carolina is ready to “hit the ground running” when the vaccines are available.

In a press conference last week, Cooper strengthened the mask mandate by requiring masks indoors when you’re with anyone outside of your household.

He also gave law enforcement leeway to cite individuals and businesses for not complying with the mask mandate or occupancy limits.

The executive order last week also says restaurants must have all guests wear masks, including at their table, when they’re not actively drinking or eating.