Thousands of vaccines delivered to NHRMC and Novant Health

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The vaccine must be stored at -70 Degrees Celsius (photo: NHRMC)

CPAE FEAR (WWAY) — Thousands of doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were delivered in the Cape Fear on Thursday.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center received 2,925 doses of the vaccine, but there could be even more doses in the vials.

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Chief Clinical Officer Dr. West Paul says they have received notification from the FDA and CDC that there may be more than five doses in each vial, as much as six full doses. This means there are likely approximately 3,400 doses at NHRMC.

The vaccination is not mandatory for employees, but Dr. Paul says the majority of the staff have already volunteered. They’re looking to vaccinate more than 3,000 employees in the next week or two.

“Those on the frontlines, those that see these COVID patients and know how bad this disease is, it’s not really much of a decision,” Paul said. “They want it.”

Experts say about 10% to 15% of recipients report fever and body aches after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Paul says this is similar to any other vaccines, like the flu.

While there are similarities, the COVID-19 vaccine is unlike any other.

“This is truly in the realms of a medical miracle,” Paul said. “This is a vaccine that has 95% efficacy. That’s something we don’t see, even the best flu vaccines we’re looking at 70%.”

He reassures that getting COVID-19 from the vaccine is impossible because there is no live or dead virus inside, he explains the vaccine contains the virus’ own DNA to fight against it. Paul added that the new technology is also being tested to treat cancer, saying this could change the future of vaccinations.

Another healthcare system in the Cape Fear received its shipment on Thursday. 7,000 doses were delivered to Novant Health locations across the state, including Brunswick County.

Madison Valenzea, a CNA, was the first to receive the vaccine at the Brunswick County location. Valenza says she is excited about the opportunity to protect her son and grandparents from the virus.