‘Leaders from across sectors met under tight timelines to work together to develop a vaccine plan that leads with equity and prioritises building trust. We will continue to update this plan as we learn more about science and data on vaccines and in response to the needs of North Carolina people, ‘said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, MD
North Carolina’s vaccine plan reflects five principles governing the planning and distribution of one or more COVID-1
The principles include:
All North Carolines have equal access to vaccines.
Vaccine planning and distribution are inclusive; actively engages state and local authorities, public and private partners; and draws on the experience and expertise of leaders from historically marginalized populations.
Transparent, accurate and frequent public communication is essential to build trust.
Data is used to promote equity, track progress and manage decision making.
Appropriate resource management and continuous evaluation and improvement promote successful implementation.
‘North Carolina Emergency Management has worked with our partners at the NC Department of Health and Human Services to ensure we have a solid coronavirus vaccine plan,’ said NCEM Director Mike Sprayberry. ‘From an operational perspective, this plan engages the state’s resources down to a county and local level and allows for flexibility based on data so we can quickly turn around and get the vaccine to those most in need.’
Several vaccines are currently under development. In order for a vaccine to be approved, studies must show that it is safe and can prevent anyone from catching COVID-19. Thousands of people have volunteered to participate in research trials across the United States and around the world to see if a vaccine is safe and prevents COVID-19 disease. Promising vaccines are produced at the same time as they are tested, so there will be an initial supply when science shows which vaccines are found to be safe and effective.
Once the Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine, it will take time for manufacturers to increase production. Therefore, states will initially receive limited vaccine supply and will have to determine which populations receive the vaccine first. The North Carolina Priority Framework was developed on the basis of the National Academy of Medicine framework and in consultation with an external COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee convened by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.
‘Our convening of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee informed about the state plan with independent and different perspectives from experts and community leaders throughout our state. The committee was composed of a wide range of leaders, including from the populations most affected by COVID-19, including racial and ethnic groups, health care, public health and academia, who worked diligently over the last month to fully take addressing equity, inequalities and health issues that are driving the pandemic and creating distrust, ‘Michelle Ries, interim director, North Carolina Institute of Medicine.
NCIOM’s Vaccine Advisory Committee co-chaired:
Dr. Goldie Byrd, Director, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University;
Dr. Leah Devlin, Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC School of Public Health; and
Dr. Art Apolinario, a family physician at the Clinton Medical Clinic and a board member of the North Carolina Medical Society.
‘My patients have taught me how important it is to acknowledge the mistrust that the current health care system has created with non-white communities,’ said Apolinario, MD, MPH, FAAFP. ‘We worked to ensure that racial differences and equal opportunities in treatment were recognized and spearheaded this decision-making process with the COVID vaccine. We had stakeholders at the table to ensure we made impartial decisions. Our work was independent, free from political bias, open to all opinions and strictly followed data and science as the main principles of a good decision. ‘
‘Old North State Medical Society is a well-established healthcare system in North Carolina. Since the beginning of 2020, the testing team at Old North State Medical Society has focused on effective and efficient ways to test the vulnerable population for this aggressive and deadly COVID-19 virus as well as promote culturally sensitive education and messaging, ‘said Charlene Green, MD, President, Old North State Medical Society. ‘Trust is the key to success. Old North State Medical Society strongly recommends that established community leaders be included in the distribution of these new vaccines. ‘
This is a preliminary plan and will continue to be revised based on additional information and guidance from the CDC and other federal agencies, increased safety and efficacy data from vaccine trials, ongoing input from state and local partners and the Vaccine Advisory Committee, and improvements when needed. progressing through the planning and operational phase.
North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccination plan builds on the foundation of the state’s overall goals and pillars for responding to the pandemic: prevention, testing, tracking, isolation, and quarantine. North Carolina took early and aggressive action to curb the spread of the virus, built capacity for testing throughout the state, supplies personal protective equipment and contract tracking, developed surge plans for hospitals, and foreign aggressive prevention strategies. ”