There may be some local “anti-vaxxers” who don’t care when and how the coronavirus vaccines are being distributed in Guilford County – but there sure are a lot of people who are intently focused right now on how they can get that shot in the arm for virus protection.
On Monday, Dec. 21 Guilford County officials were hard at work making plans for the distribution as well as informing the media of the details.
Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann scheduled a media-only event for late Monday afternoon to answer questions, and the county’s public relations department was also providing information to keep residents apprised of what to expect.
One county press release stated that while the vaccine isn’t available to the “general public” for distribution in the first phase, the county’s health department has been preparing for the first round of allocations, and county health staff have been working hard to identify those who are eligible for the vaccine early on.
As most people know by now, one vaccine will require that people get two shots for full protection.
“The COVID-19 vaccines currently available require two shots given a set number of days apart,” the county’s statement on the vaccines notes. “Those taking the vaccine will need both doses to build up a strong immunity against COVID-19. The second shot will come 21 or 28 days after the first depending on the manufacturer. And it is very important to get two doses of the same vaccine.”
County officials are also working to assure area residents that the vaccines being offered are safe. Vann noted materials provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) that explain that “there are rigorous protocols and procedures put into place by the Food and Drug Administration which are carried out by our scientific community and medical professionals who review clinical trials to ensure that vaccines are both safe and effective.”
COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being required to pass three phases of clinical trials before receiving the Food and Drug Administration’s “Emergency Use” authorization.
The county also warns that there will not be enough of the vaccine to go around at first since it will take some time for manufactures to “ramp up enough production for mass distribution.”
According to county officials, it will be “early 2021” before North Carolina will move to Phase 2, which is when adults at a high risk of exposure and those who are at risk of more serious illness can get vaccinated.
The people who are getting vaccines in this first phase are nursing home residents and healthcare workers who come into contact with coronavirus patients as part of their work.
Vann stated that she and her staff want to see as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“It is our number one goal to distribute the vaccine to as many people as we can,” she stated in a press release. “The vaccines will be critical to building our immunities to this deadly virus; which, will ultimately allow us, as a community, to get back to normal.”
People who want more information about the vaccines and the state’s phased distribution plan can learn more by going to https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.