Moderna Inc.'s possible COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Today: January 5

In Buzz, December 2020 / January 2021, Web Exclusive by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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WEB EXCLUSIVE As expected, with people travelling for the holidays and/or getting together with their friends and families over the past couple of weeks, positive coronavirus numbers have significantly increased and hospitalizations are at a record high. Over just the last month, coronavirus-related hospitalizations have increased by 68 percent. The daily rate of positive cases is at 16.5 percent; NC DHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen wants the state to be closer to 5 percent.

The numbers are concerning, and Governor Roy Cooper has expressed his concerns to the public many times already this year. On January 3, he tweeted: “The first two days of this year have broken case count records. These numbers need to be a wake up call.” Even though North Carolina has already started distributing the two approved vaccines (Pzifer and Moderna), it’s obvious that the virus is still very much a problem and we all need to continue doing our part to stop the spread.

Governor Roy Cooper on Twitter

Below, we share more information on the vaccine and how it will be distributed in North Carolina, as well as how COVID is continuing to affect people across the state.

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

North Carolina moved into phase 1b of the vaccine distribution plan this week, however, because distribution varies by county, some places in the state are still in phase 1a. Phase 1a includes frontline healthcare workers and long-term care staff and residents, while phase 1b includes adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers. Late last month, North Carolina amended its coronavirus vaccine distribution plan so that all adults over 75 would be prioritized under the first phase; previously only adults over the age of 75 were prioritized if they had underlying health conditions.

Phases 2 through 4 of the vaccine distribution plan can be seen below.

Photo via covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines

The Cardinal at North Hills, a luxury retirement community, is one of the first retirement communities in the state to get the Moderna vaccine. Executive director Tom Ford says that they received the vaccine through CVS and will be distributing over 300 doses today to their residents and employees. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be stored at sub zero temperatures (minus 70 degrees Celsius), the Moderna vaccine only has to be kept at negative 20 degrees Celsius, which is closer to the temperature of an average freezer. More hospitals and other facilities will have the capabilities of storing and distributing the Moderna vaccine.

Ford says that CVS will be holding two additional clinics at The Cardinal—another one in 30 days to distribute the second dose and to anybody who missed the first dose, and another one 30 days after to distribute the second dose to the second batch of residents and employees.

Dr. Cohen says that supplies are still very limited, so it could be awhile before the average North Carolinian gets vaccinated—possibly as late as the spring. However, just today, Gov. Cooper has mobilized the NC National Guard to “provide support to local health providers as we continue to increase the pace of vaccinations.”

For more information on North Carolina’s vaccine distribution plan, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.

COVID-RELATED DEATHS

As of today, there have been 6,941 people that have died from coronavirus since March. So, who is dying? We’ve seen that older adults and older adults with underlying health conditions are at a greater risk of hospitalization—or death—if they’ve contracted COVID-19.

NC DHHS has updated their dashboard to give a better look at how COVID cases and deaths break down throughout the state in terms of ethnicity, age, gender and race. Below, you’ll see that adults over the age of 75 have the greatest death rate, which is why they are now one of the first to be vaccinated.

Graph courtesy of covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/cases-demographics

The dashboard also shows that—of the known data—white people have the greatest death rate, followed by African Americans. The death rate of males and females is more or less equal.

For more information on coronavirus case and death demographics in North Carolina, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/cases-demographics.

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