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North Carolina Pfizer coronavirus vaccine update: Dec. 10, 2020

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North Carolina health officials, including Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, will provide an update on the state's distribution plan of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as cases continue to skyrocket across the United States.

Once approved by the FDA, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to 11 hospital groups across North Carolina, including Atrium Health in Charlotte. An FDA advisory board is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss giving emergency authorization to the vaccine. That FDA meeting is likely the final hurdle to clear before the vaccine is administered nationwide.

The FDA’s decision comes as the coronavirus continues surging across much of the world, claiming more than 1.5 million lives, including more than 289,000 in the U.S.

In North Carolina, DHHS reported a single-day record for new COVID-19 cases (6,495) and hospitalizations (2,440) Wednesday. Health experts say much of the country is just now seeing the first cases linked to Thanksgiving, and the numbers are expected to keep climbing over the next two weeks.

Healthcare workers at high risk of COVID-19 and people working in long-term care facilities are at the top of the state’s priority list for vaccines, but Dr. Cohen said hospitals will decide who is vaccinated first.

"You should avoid non-essential activities and avoid people you don't live with," Dr. Cohen said Tuesday. "I am very worried... Do not wait until it is you or your loved one sick before you wear a mask."

MORE INFO: https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/north-carolina-covid-19-vaccine-distribution-update-dr-mandy-cohen/275-bd5e29d9-0d9f-4b74-86c9-1fb44b417cdb

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