For the second time this week, Wake County is getting a visit from Washington, D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence will be in the Triangle Wednesday to focus on two topics: reopening schools in the face of coronavirus and the history-making clinical trials now underway for a possible vaccine.

The president’s visit Monday and the vice president on Wednesday signal two things about North Carolina. The state is important in the race for the White House and is a major player in the race for a vaccine.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center, which provides research grants and guidance for biotech companies, already has a heavy security presence in preparation for Pence’s visit.  After a visit to Thales Academy in Apex, Pence is expected to meet with leaders of Wake Research, which is organizing vaccine clinical trials.

As WRAL Investigates reported on Monday, six Wake Research facilities are taking part in Phase III trials for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

They’re recruiting volunteers, especially those in high-risk categories, to be injected with genetically created antibodies modeled from patients who beat COVID-19.

On Monday, Pence held a roundtable in Miami praising fast-tracked vaccine clinical trials and the volunteers stepping in to help.

In that roundtable Pence said, “We have a goal of literally manufacturing hundreds of millions of doses by this fall and to have them available by next year.”

He’s expected to spread the same praise Wednesday at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Both Duke Health and UNC Health have also been tapped to conduct vaccine clinical trials and are recruiting volunteers. Duke is working with Pfizer and AstraZeneca to test vaccines.