NC officials outline vaccine distribution plans
North Carolina public health officials discuss plans to distribute coronavirus vaccines across the state.
with me today is Dr Amanda Fuller, more our state pharmacists for public health. She's managing and leading our vaccine management distribution work. I'm also joined by Monica McGee and Lee Williamson. There are American Sign language interpreters, and Jackie and Jasmine Batavia are Spanish interpreters as faras today's numbers. As of this morning, there were 5556 new cases reported today. 2444 people are currently hospitalized, and sadly, we have now been up to 5714 deaths. I am very worried about our recent trends. We continue setting records on new daily cases, reported the percent of tests that are positive and most concerning the number of people hospitalized and those in the intensive care unit. Our hospitals are feeling the strain, and this is really worrisome. While we are able to currently manage our capacity at this point, as we've seen in other states, things can escalate quickly. We are watching our hospital, and I see you bed numbers extremely closely. Remember, hospitalizations is a lagging indicator, and I'm concerned about where we're going to be as a state in 2 to 3 weeks from now, we are on a dangerous course. This virus is highly contagious, but we can slow it down if we act now. If you are with someone that you don't live with, where a mask, wait 6 ft apart and wash your hands. Often we are doing all that we can, and I'm counting on you to do all that you can to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community. We will soon have the tool we've been waiting for to help us defeat this virus and get back in control of our lives and back to the people in places we love. It's possible that vaccines will begin shipping within the next few days. Although the vaccines were developed quickly, they were built upon years of scientific work in developing vaccines for similar viruses. More than 70,000 people participated in clinical trials for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to see if they were safe and effective, and preliminary data shows that they are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVE in 19 with minimal safety concerns. There is no Covic, 19 virus in the actual vaccine themselves. The vaccine imitates the infection so that our body thinks a germ like the virus is attacking, and this creates the antibody defense. We need to fight off Cove in 19 if and when the rial germ attacks. Some people may have temporary reactions after being vaccinated. Such a swelling from the injection at the injection site or tiredness or feeling off for a day or two with the possibility of vaccines arriving in North Carolina within the next week, I'm gonna go into some more detail about what to expect, and we're going to get into a bit of the weeds here. So stay with us. There are two parts for the authorization process for a vaccine. First, an independent advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration reviews the data from the clinical trial to determine if it is safe and can prevent people from getting co vid. The FDA is in concert with that independent advisory board before making their decision, and this advisory board is meeting right now. Today, Based on this review, the FDA will make a decision about whether or not to authorize the vaccines emergency use. Second, there is a another independent advisory committee of now the C D C that reviews the data from the clinical trial and recommends who should get the vaccine. So, for example, this committee could determine that the vaccine is not appropriate for a particular age group based on the data or for pretty people with particular conditions. This advisory board is meeting over this coming weekend. Onley After both steps are completed, can the vaccine be given to people? So once the FDA that first step authorizes the vaccine, it will be shipped to 11 hospitals in North Carolina. Thes 11 hospitals have sufficient ultra cold storage capacity to hold the vaccine. While waiting for that second step, the final recommendation from the C. D. C. The 500 committee again is scheduled to meet through the weekend, potentially voting on recommendations this coming Sunday. However, if a decision were to be delayed beyond Sunday, the 11 hospitals have the capacity to safely store the vaccine for a longer period of time. After the 500 makes its recommendations, the manufacturer will begin shipping vaccines using dry ice to an additional 42 other hospitals in our state. Thes hospitals were chosen based on bed capacity, healthcare workers and county population. The federal government will determine how much vaccine will go to each state based on our population. So based on that, we expect to receive 85,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in this first shipment thes air going to be shipped in batches of at least 975 doses in a unit so each location must be able to store this amount of vaccine and ultra cold storage. Or keep the shipping container refilled with dry ice for up to 30 days and use those doses within 10 to 15 days without needing to refill the dry ice. Independent state and federal public advisory groups have determined the best way to Fight Cove in 19 is to start with vaccinations first for those most at risk, and then reach people additional people as a vaccine supply increases. Therefore, as we've been talking about, the initial supply of vaccines are going to go to vaccinate healthcare workers at high risk of exposure to Cove in 19, those who are directly caring for or cleaning the areas used by patients with Cove. In 19, as more vaccine becomes available, it will be distributed to Mawr of the state's hospitals and then to our health departments to focus on vaccinating again those high risk health care workers. Once hospitals have vaccines, they're also going to stagger that administration to staff. We know that some people, as I mentioned earlier, may have temporary reaction to the vaccine. So doing that staggering is going to help avoid any potential staffing challenges. Long term care staff and residents are also one of the first groups who will receive a vaccine. Giving vaccinations at nursing homes and most adult care homes is being managed by the federal government. Through a partnership with Walgreens and CVS. We anticipate that they will begin vaccinating staff and residents once the second vaccine by Moderna is authorized. So not this first Pfizer vaccine. As more vaccine becomes available, vaccinations will be offered in a variety of settings to everyone who wants one, including clinics and pharmacies, as well as vaccination events in the community. But we're not there yet. When the vaccines available, it's going to be free to everyone. Any fees associated with the administration of the vaccine will be paid either by your insurance company or by the government. We plan to begin sharing data about vaccines and who's getting vaccinations on December 22nd, and that will be information that we can update weekly. Okay, I know that was a lot of detail. As you can see, this is a huge effort. We know there are going to be bumps in the road with any sort of major challenge of administrating ah vaccine program of this scale. We're doing everything possible to be prepared based on the information we have now from the federal government. But remember, we are learning new information every day, and we're gonna need to incorporate that into our work before I open it for questions. I want to remind everyone that are modified. Stay at home order goes into effect tomorrow. This order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 PM and 5 a.m. businesses, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and mawr will be required to close by 10 PM In addition, all on site alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m. And as you think about the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays, I have a tough esque yet again. Please, please avoid traveling and gathering this holiday season. But if you absolutely must, it is essential that you get tested ahead of time, where a mask all the time, keep it small and keep it outdoors. All right, that was a lot. So with that, I will stop there and turn over to your questions. And again, I'm here with Dr Fuller more. And we'll be happy to answer all of your questions about vaccines or whatever else is on your mind. Thank you. First question today is from Claire Donnelly with W f A radio in Charlotte. Hi, Dr Cohen. Claire Donnelly was W F E. Um, I understand that American Airlines, um, sent DHHS a letter saying that the state's vaccination plans, um, failed to specifically reference or give time estimates for airport, airline and cargo workers in the vaccine allocation. Are you guys planning on adding that into the plan or reconsidering? Um, you know, not mentioning them. Sure. First, a couple of things about the prioritization. So there's been a number of expert groups that have met to consider prioritization. Um, and look, we're going to have limited supply, and I know this is going to be challenging But what all of those expert Bositis have said is we need to be sure that we're vaccinating those with the highest risk of exposure and then the highest risk of having severe illness from this vaccine. So that is how the prioritization works. So the National Academy of Medicine, as well as an advisory board of the Centers for Disease Control, the C D. C, as well as our own independent vaccine advisory committee here in North Carolina that was organized by the Institute of Medicine. They all coalesce around this same prioritization scheme, and it all starts with healthcare workers that are working directly with folks who have co vid 19 again. It's either the clinical staff, the cleaning staff, anyone that's coming into contact with folks who have this virus. So that is certainly our first priority. Second, we know that some of the most at risk folks are living in our long term care settings so that that is a next group that we will be going to so our long term care residents and staff. So that is really going to be the work certainly of December and likely into January. After that, when we feel like there is more supply of vaccine. We will move into the next group, which starts to go into those folks who have mawr were more likely to have severe illness from this vaccine. Those are adults with two or more chronic conditions, but also we want to target those who are also at high risk of exposure. So that's where our front line workers come into play. Folks like our police and our firefighters and others who are on the front lines are teachers are childcare workers. So there is a list of those frontline workers. Um, and again, we wanted to do that to make sure we're getting at the folks who again highest risk and most likely tohave exposure. But I want to caution everyone that we're just a the beginning of this, and in terms of time frames, we don't even know how much vaccine we're going to be receiving from the federal government in Week two. I was we were able to share with you 85,800 doses, likely in week one. We're still even waiting to know what are what numbers were gonna get for week two. So it's really hard for us to project out exact timelines at this point. Um, so we would just say, continue to check back in with us as we learn more information every day, we will continue to be transparent and talk to you. About what? That what that looks like as we move through. Okay. I'm gonna see if Dr Filmore has more. They want you want to add about Timing is anymore. Go ahead, work. Thank you, Dr Cohen. So as we look at timing, we really are waiting on the information. And I know we say that often. We're waiting. We're waiting. We really are waiting on the numbers as we have the numbers that gives us the ability to say how far and how fast are we going to be able to go? We also have to look at how many people actually present for vaccination. That will help us as we see that information over the coming weeks determine how fast were able to go from one group or another. Um, I will say specifically to your question related Thio, the airline staff, we do have a section in our prioritization that does address transportation workers. So I do encourage everybody toe. Look at that prioritization scheme, especially in that front line worker category. And remember that we can't list everyone specifically on there. So please be thinking about those groups that keep us going. Those groups that are the highest risk for exposure and those groups that are at the highest risk for complications. All right, thanks. Next question. Next question is from Hannah Jeffries with W I T N T v. I got your Cohen. Thank you so much for taking my call today. Hannes. Every W I c N um, There are surgeon testing sites in Pitt County that are leaving in two weeks. But I cases continue to increase. You anticipate more sub sites like these. And another thing really quick. Is there a plan so far for when the prisons will receive the vaccine? Sure. Thanks, Hannah. So, first on pick county and search testing. So, yes, we want to make sure we're continuing our high rates of testing that we have seen across the state. I've been very pleased to see that in almost nearly every day we're at 40 50 60,000 tests a day. That is good. We need to keep that up. Remember, vaccines are arriving within the next week, but again limited supply. Which means we have to keep doing all of the hard work around mass and social distancing and getting tested that we've been doing over these last number of months. So we're going to continue to have state funded free testing sites across the across the entire state. I'd encourage folks to go look for that, particularly if they're thinking about their Christmas holiday. Please get tested if you are going to be gathering at all. Testing is not a free pass, though. Remember, if you get tested, you still have to wear a mask and be socially distant. Keep it small, keep it outside so that testing will continue. And as far as vaccination in prisons, I'm going to turn it over to Dr Phil Lamarr. Thank you specifically for our prisons. We are coordinating with our Department of Public Safety colleagues so that we ensure that vaccines are available in our state operated facilities, both adult and juvenile, and working closely with our local health departments to ensure that our county and city jails are addressed at the local level to ensure they get vaccine. Those, um, incarcerated individuals are in congregate living settings. They're addressed very early on in our prioritization in phase one B. And so, as Dr Cohen said, we expect that we will start moving further out of one A and into phase one B as we get into early 2021. But the exact timing of that is gonna be related. Thio are vaccine allocations each week. Great. Next question. And the next question is from Dan Goldberg with Politico Hi, Dr Cohen, Thank you so much for doing this. Um, actually, two quick questions one. Do you expect a new allocation every week, Or did they come every day once we get rolling on the second one is I'm sure you've seen the polls that show there's still a tremendous amount of wariness regarding the vaccine. You spoke about it beginning trying to reassure the public. Does North Carolina have the means at the moment to do a robust public messaging campaign? Or is that something you're hoping the Vibe Administration will dio? Do you need more federal money for that? Can you discuss a little bit about the messaging aspect? Thanks, Dan First. Yes, it will be a weekly allocation from the federal government. That is our understanding. But again, we're learning as we go here. As I said earlier, we have only received our week One allocations we've not heard about week two, but I think it is going to be similar to how they've been doing. Distributions of remedies severe on the monoclonal antibodies again that has been in a weekly allocation. Eso We expect that to continue as follows as faras the communications campaign. We have been working very hard here in North Carolina to do a lot of research. Focus group testing toe Understand, folks, Andi, where they are related to the vaccine. What they understand what they may not, Um, where that weariness comes from and understandably, there there is some on dso. What we are working on is a very robust communications campaign. Um, but I do think there is going to need to be more federal support here, both in dollars toe. Make sure that the communication campaign can continue to be active through the entire spring and into the summer, because again, this is going to be, um, a long effort in order to get the whole population vaccinated s so it's not just to run that campaign for the extended period of time, but we are going to need, I think, a federal framework for how we're all talking about this together. Because there's a lot of details here on. And I think it's gonna be really important that we're all singing off the same sheet of music, if you will. On DSO I think that coordination between the federal government, the state government and all of our partners that we are all giving good quality, high quality, consistent and simple information to everyone of that vaccines. I think that's gonna be really important. So, yes, funding is important. But that coordination Aziz Well, we've already offered to other states, um, to share what we have learned in our research. You know, every state is a little bit different, but there are tons of common themes that I think we can share across this country. Thanks, Dan. Next question is from Richard straddling. If the news and Observer. Hi, Dr Richard. Straddling it there. You know, thanks for doing this. You've said that all of the doses North Carolina received next week will be first doses rather than holding back half for the required second dose 21 days later, One of whose decision was that was at the state or the federal government advisor and, um And why? And then how confident are you that the second dose will arrive on time? And, you know, when do you expect to start setting aside second doses, Richard? Thanks for that. I'll start that. Let Dr Fuller more enter. Additionally. Yes. So all 85,800 doses are first doses. The federal government is managing the overall allocations. It was their decision to do that in terms of giving us just first doses holding back second doses. And then two weeks later, um, in time for that next dose, they will be shipping us those second doses behind that. That was their decision. Um, and we are making sure to adjust our operations accordingly. But let me see if Dr More Fuller More has more. Dad. Thank you. Yes, we do plan for all of those to be first doses. We can look in our online systems that show us our allocations between us and operation and warp speed and CDC. And we see that those second doses are there in line. So we feel confident that every two weeks we will be receiving the follow up doses from the first does So, for example, next week we will receive week one doses from Pfizer and then in two weeks. So at week three, we will receive those same amount of doses again as the second doses, plus additional first doses. Again, we do see those numbers and our systems already, So I feel confident that they will flow in as expected. Richard, the only thing I'd add to that is what we're hearing now, as I as I mentioned that the 11 hospital sites that are gonna be the early ship sites we know when that will ship we as a state do not request our allocations for those rest of the other 42 hospitals that I mentioned. We don't do that until the CDC has made their final recommendation. We're not sure yet how long it will take between us putting in that request to the federal government for those 42 hospitals to receive their vaccine. We're hearing anywhere from 24 hours to a few days on DSO that will change the timing of those weeks, right? As we start to understand, Like when it's the clock really starting for week. One week, two weeks, three. So, again, we're learning as we go here. We're learning from the federal government about the timing of that from Pfizer directly about when we're going to be receiving those doses and again. So we will continue to update folks as we learn more precise information. Just trying to lay out for you right now a framework fix way. Have a follow up from Richard straddling Onda and partly answered this. But if you have any sense of how long before hospitals that are not in this first wave of vaccinations will be ableto offer to their employees. Sorry, Richard, Can you repeat that? Yes. I'm sorry. Do you have any sense of how long before hospitals that were not in this first wave of vaccinations will be ableto offer it to their employees who are not on the list of 42 11? Thank you, Richard. Um, so we hope Bye bye week to that, we will be able to expand to a larger number of hospitals. But again, until we get those exact numbers from the federal government In terms of our week to allocation, we're not able to say exactly and precisely which hospitals and when. Let me turn over to Dr Fuller More for more. So we are currently working on what we know to be our week to Madonna allocations, and we are making every effort to ensure that every local health department as well as every hospital who has not received, receives some vaccine in week two. It's the amount that really is what we're waiting for because we aren't able to fully do our allocations without that Pfizer amount. Hopefully, we will have that in the next couple of days. And as soon as we have that information and share it with those that are receiving will be able Teoh give a really good picture about what we do is gonna look like great next question. Our next question is from Grace Holland with wf n Y T v Greensburg. Hi, Dr Cohen, This is Grace Holland with W S and Y needs to in Greensboro. Um, you've already talked a lot about prioritization. Um, but I wanted to ask again because we're getting a lot of questions from our viewers who are curious why people who live in those congregate living facilities like nursing homes. Um, we'll have to wait a little bit longer than health care workers. You mentioned earlier that there are several groups and agencies that worked on this distribution plan, but can you kind of explain the logic that went into that decision? Sure, thanks for that question. So first, when we were thinking about the overall prioritization, healthcare workers were the top, um, and so we was always our intent to be sure that we could be targeting our health care workers who were in direct exposure to Cove it day in and day out when they're doing their jobs. Um, that has been a universal recommendation from the National Academy of Medicine from the CDC advisory group and from our own North Carolina Vaccine Advisory Committee. And remember, for our long term care settings are nursing homes and adult care homes. That vaccination program is run entirely by the federal government. We here in North Carolina it will come out of our allocation, but it will be Walgreens and CVS that is actually doing the vaccination work. And so we are in close coordination with them. Of course, as they do that work. Um, but and we have quote unquote turned on that program for North Carolina on DSO as soon as we're able, Thio have our our allocation. Um, we think it will come from our week to allocation That will begin the process of CVS and Walgreens starting to do the vaccinations in our nursing homes and our other long term care settings. Her dad. Okay, Our next question is from Robin Kennedy with Fox 46 in Charlotte. Hi. Good morning, Dr Cohen. Thank you so much for taking my question. Um, South Carolina has announced that they expect to receive 200,000 to 300,000 doses initially, and I know that not your decision is for is how it's allocated. But can you help us understand a population a smallest South Carolina, comparatively, with North Carolina. And why South Carolina? Maybe receiving more doses initially? Sure. I wanna turn over to Dr Filmore, but so I wonder if those numbers air giving are the amount of vaccine that they will have through the rest of this calendar year. That doesn't sound right in terms of a week. One allocation. But let me see if you want a way and more. Thank you. We hear that a lot. And I think it depends on how states are giving their information about what their allocation is gonna be. We're trying to be really transparent about exactly what we know. The solid number that we feel like we have right now is weak. One I suspect on the part of South Carolina that that is their projection. What? They're estimating that they will receive for the rest of 2020. When I think about what, in my mind, we're expecting to receive in 2020. Our number would probably be around double that, which would be right on track, with our population being about double theirs. So, you know, again, it's all estimates at this point, but I would make sure that we are all giving our numbers from the same timeframe. So we're giving you what we expect by the week. That sounds like more like what they're expecting throughout. 2020. We have a follow up from Robert Kennedy. Thanks so much for that. Yeah, we will definitely check with them on that number. as far as the allocation for state. Can you guys give us any indication on how exactly that was decided? Was solely based on population or positivity rate or for 100,000 rate any any ideas there. Thanks, Robyn. So again, the federal government is in charge of that allocation and a Sfar. As we are aware, the allocation is strictly based on population eso. It does not have any adjustment factor for the severity of co vid Ah, spread in your state. It is strictly population. Okay. Amanda gave me the thumbs up. Mhm. Next question. Next question is from Lynn Bonner with North Carolina Policy Watch. Hi, Dr Cohen. It's Lynn Bonner from Policy Watch. Thanks for taking my question. Um, I know you've probably seen that Elon poll about vaccine hesitancy. I'm wondering what percentage of people should take the vaccine or have to take the vaccine before we can all leave our houses again. Um, how long will it take to get to that percentage of people who are vaccinated and how? And who will be tracking second doses? Great Lynn. So a lot of lot built into that question, So we want as many people in North Carolina to get vaccinated as as possible. Um, but we know that that's going to take some time, right? We're talking about the limited supplies at first, and so we don't really know yet what the time sequence is going to be. In terms of us having vaccine that is more widely available for the general public, it is not going to be in the early part of 2021. Let me just say that I think is going to be closer to the springtime before Vaccine is widely available across our state for everyone and again just goes back to why it's going to be important for us to do the things we've been doing all year long. And I know everyone is tired of this, but we're going to have to keep doing masks and social distancing and washing our hands. Um, as we ramp up this vaccine effort as faras the tracking question. Let me turn over to Amanda full or more, but that is part of what we have been working on with our I T. Platform here to make sure that we can track both doses, and that's a really important point, I want to remind everyone this isn't just one shot. We have to have everyone get to vaccinations before they have the protection from this vaccine. So knowing that second doses are hugely important, we have really tried to make sure that not only our data system has the ability to track that second dose, but also that our providers are prepared. So we are reminding our providers that as your scheduling the first us when a person presents for their 1st, 1st US to schedule. The second is with the vaccines comes a set of ancillary supplies in those ancillary supplies. So that's like the needles and the things that go with giving the vaccine. With those comes a shock card. We're asking providers to fill out those shot cards. Give it to the vaccine recipient if they have a smartphone. Asked them to take a picture of it. Use their in house reminder systems to text recipients of the vaccine so that they know so that they remember to get their vaccine. Our technology system is also built to provide an email reminder. When people enter their email address, it will remind them. We've also asked our insurance, Um, partners. To be sure that as they see claims for first doses to provide those reminders about second dose is part of our communications campaign will focus on reminding people that once you get your first dose, you still need to get your second dose. It is nothing short of a challenge. It it really will be because the vaccines are different. The Pfizer vaccine is about 21 days apart. For the two doses, the Moderna vaccine is about 28 days apart for the two doses. And so making sure that people get Pfizer first and fight their second because they aren't interchangeable presents another layer of challenge to that second dose piece. But we do want to make sure we take every opportunity to provide those second dose reminders. So we ask everybody to participate in that challenge. You have a follow up to monitor calculus, Thank you very much, Dr Cohen. I'm wondering if you could say what the target is for, um, the percentage of the population or the adult public population. Um, getting vaccinated, is it? Do we need to get your 60% 70% 75%? What's what's the goal, then It's a great question, and I don't know that we have a precise answer for you. I think we wanna make sure vaccine is available and that as many folks here in North Carolina get it. I think we're gonna be learning Maura about this vaccine. First of all, how long does immunity last is? They're going to need to be an annual vaccination like we have with with flu. And what does that mean? Um, for us in terms of what what we need to do across the population. So I think it's too early to be able to say that. But I would say we need as many people as possible Thio get this vaccine because if folks get this vaccine, it means it's going to be way less likely that they will get the virus itself, and then the virus will have less places to go. Less places to be transmitted thio, Um and it will help us going forward. So, you know, our job right now is to make sure that we can get the vaccines that come to us from the federal government to folks that are high priority as quickly as possible. But again, we we have to make sure that we're doing this in a way. We were learning as we go. We're learning in terms of our numbers that are coming to us. We're learning about things. For example, I mentioned this in my opening remarks. Hospitals need to make sure they're staggering the way they administer the vaccine so that the folks who may have, um, some of the temporary side effects of feeling crummy for 24 hours. We don't want everyone to feel crummy all at the same time and have to call out. And then folks have staffing challenges, so those are all of the kinds of nuances that we're going to learn more about. And I would caution everyone to remember that the FDA has not even done its emergency youth authorization yet. Nor has the CDC advisory committee told us about what populations this this vaccine will cover. So there's still more pieces of this puzzle that we need to learn about before we turn on this the this vaccination effort, but it's it's right. We're right on the precipice of you know, this incredible, uh, tool that we've been waiting for for so long, but just know we're gonna learn as we go here. Next question is from Rose Hoban with North Carolina Health News. Hi. Secretary Cohen. Thank you so much for taking our questions today. Um, the first question I have is it's a slightly off the vaccine, you know, as hospitals, air filling up or their plans to deploy that, um, Sandhills Hospital that we've had on standby, um, down in Hamlet. Thanks, Rose for that. So obviously, we are concerned about capacity, but more more, more concerned about staffing, as we talked about in our last press conference, more worried about doctors and nurses rather than physical space. S O that is the commodity or the resource that it's really precious. Here's our people. And it is one of the reasons why when we think about our vaccination effort, they are certainly the ones that are. We want to make sure we vaccinate first because what we're seeing, understandably is we have more community spread, um, that we're seeing mawr folks who are, uh, nurses and others who work in hospital settings who have the virus or are exposed, and then they need to be home. So we're gonna have staffing challenges. So that for us is our focus and our priority less on the physical, um, space we do still have. I believe that the Hamlet space, um, for if we needed it. But right now really were focused on the staffing piece follow up from Rose Open her. And my next question is more vaccine focused. And that is that, you know, in the Latino community, um, the Latin 19 group, you know, one of the questions that they fielded has been concerned about the gathering of addresses and other demographic information for the vaccine database. And there's a notion that it might get scared with federal immigration authorities and that this might, um uh, you know, just weighed many Latino, uh, folks from trying to get the vaccine. What can you How can you address that or Well, I want to address privacy concerns overall, Um, we take that incredibly seriously. This is the bread and butter work of public health is to make sure that we can handle this kind of sensitive information. We have been working on making sure that our our our systems are secure and safe. A swell as thinking about any sharing of data in a very, um, proactive way to make sure that we're protecting personal information. Um, that is across the board for everyone. Um, and I would say to particularly Thio are Hispanic and Latino communities who I know have mawr concerns about giving information. We do not want that to stop folks from getting this potentially lifesaving vaccine. This is not information that's going to be shared Beyond health care providers. We have very specific data use agreements with those that are on Lee able to use this information for clinical purposes. Um, I'm gonna have Dr Filmore say same or about that, but we wanna make sure everyone here is that this information is on. Lee used to make sure, for example, that we can follow up to make sure you get dose number two. Right. So we do need to collect contact information so we can make sure to remind folks and, uh, to come in for their their second dose. But this is all focused on making sure that we can get folks, um, the vaccines that they need I just wanna echo that we are really serious about the use of the data and the control of the data, and we hear the privacy concerns. We are collecting the information because the second dose is very important, and matching the second dose to the first dose is very important. And so, in order to be able to do that, we have toe have the individual information so that we connect the person's first dose to the correct person and the correct vaccine in the second dose. We truly are only using the information so that we have it for our health care personnel so that they know if you go to one place for the first dose, they have access to be able to see because health care providers or the ones with the access to the system they concede. E what was the second dose? It's a backup mechanism if the card gets lost. Um, if the picture gets deleted, we really need to be able t to be sure that we match the 1st and 2nd dose and we can get people back in for the second dose. The question is from Shelby living with Hi, this is Shelby, living some of business insider. Thanks for having this call. Um, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about plans to get vaccines, the health care workers in rural areas and some of the challenges that rural providers may be facing in this or thanks shall be really good. Good question, because, as you know, North Carolina is has a lot of our of our state is rural. Um, and we're very much top of mind and thinking about it, as as you've been hearing through this briefing, that the supply is going to be limited. And at first it's on Lee going to hospital settings. And so thus those health care workers, um, you know who already worked at those health care settings? They're gonna be the first ones vaccinated. But then as we expand our supply, it's gonna go to Mawr hospitals and more counties as well as our local health departments. And again, this is part of their the work that they have done for years in terms of running vaccine clinics and doing outreach to make sure folks can have access to the vaccine. Um, and I know folks in rural areas they're not not new to the transportations of transportation challenges that exist on So we're trying to work through that. We hope, as we get more and more supply that we can make our vaccination clinics even more mobile and go to folks. Um, and make sure that we're getting into the rural areas. But at first, when supply is more limited, it is going to be more centrally located in a particular county, either at the health Department or a community health center. But again, as we have more supply, we hope to be able to be more mobile as we go. Anything you wanna. Thanks, Shelby. And our final question today is from Lauren Claesson with Congressional Quarterly roll call. Hi. Thanks for doing the call. Um, I wanted to follow up on a question about vaccine hesitancy. Um, especially a lot of concern about that among health care workers specifically. And I'm just wondering if you've seen that there in North Carolina. Um, and you said you've been doing focus groups, and that's first thing. If you have any data you could share around that, that would be wonderful. And also just how you're planning on addressing that, um, for health care workers. Yeah, Lauren, Thanks for that question around vaccine hesitancy for both health care workers. And I'd say we're also focused on long term care workers. And those were the two big groups right at the beginning on DSO. We've actually worked with our our hospital since they're the ones that are first going to be getting this vaccine. And I just met with all of our hospital CEOs yesterday, and they're being incredibly thoughtful about how do they talk to their own team about this? One way in which North Carolina is lucky is that we've actually had a lot of clinical trial participants here in North Carolina. Some of our biggest hospitals have had two or 300 participants already, um, in these trials. So we're actually trying to use their stories and their experiences to help others um, understand what what's coming. They're also thinking about making sure that the leadership, um whether that's the clinical leadership or others of these hospitals are first in line getting these vaccines to show folks that they are confident in in in these vaccines in terms of being safe and effective. But I think this is about sharing individual stories, um, and and making sure that they see their other peers getting these vaccines as well. So we're gonna be trying toe lift up those stories. We're working in coordination with the hospital association here in North Carolina as well as individual hospitals to make sure we're aligned on that. We're already have. I've already recorded my own public service announcement to our long term care workers, but also to the families of those who have loved ones in long term care settings. Help them understand about what's coming, how they can make good decisions for their for their loved ones. Um, and why having a vaccine is a great defense against Cove in 19 eso. We are trying to work through that proactively and again. I think it's going to be a lot of us lifting up the individual folks either in the healthcare space who have been part of trials or are early vaccinators, um, to be able to share their their own stories so that that's what our focus groups have really shown is they want to know. Hey, is my friend over there? Uh, did she get it? Did he get it? Did the boss get it s So those are the important things that have come out. So we're making sure to build that in as well as sharing again. Consistent information. Um, in a simple way that that folks can That's accessible to folks. So this is part of that effort. Is trying to help everyone understand what we know and when we know it and how we're doing our work going forward. Dr More, Dad. Um, okay with that, I think, Lauren, that was our last question. Um, I know we spend a lot of time on vaccine today. I don't want us to take our eye off the ball, though, of our worsening trends. We have a lot of work to do here in North Carolina as we're in this holiday season. Please, please. Where? A mask all the time. Please do your three W's. Andi, If you are thinking about gathering, um, for the holidays, remember to get a test, remember to wear a mask all the time. Keep it small, keep it outdoors and importantly, Stay well and thank you for all your doing. Mhm.