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Gov. Roy Cooper announces Group 4 will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 17

State leaders could address the timeline for the two remaining vaccine groups, as some county health departments are ready to move to Group 4.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina COVID-19 task force announced some people in Group 4 with underlying medical conditions will be able to get the vaccine beginning March 17.

“This move to Group 4 is good news,” Gov. Cooper said. “I know there are many efforts across the state getting vaccines to people as quickly and fairly as possible and I want our providers to know that their work is making all the difference.”

Those with the following will be able to get vaccinated in the next group. The list follows the CDC guidelines, according to the state.

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes type 1 or 2
  • A heart condition such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure  
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, including Down Syndrome
  • Liver disease, including hepatitis
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia and schizophrenia
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia
  • Smoking (current or former, defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime)

People who live in congregate settings will also be able to get the vaccine as well as part of Group 4.

“We are very fortunate to now have three tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that keep people out of the hospital and prevent death from this virus,” NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “With improving supplies, North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and meet our goals to provide equitable access to vaccinations in every community in the state.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is continuing to contact providers across the state to survey both their vaccine capacity and supply.

State leaders said they updated the vaccine timeline based on their feedback and expected supply.

However, state leaders also said some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to Group 4 on March 17 if they’re still experiencing high demand for Groups 1 – 3.

Rockingham County moved to vaccinate some people in Group 4 after it did not fill all vaccine appointments for Groups 1, 2, or 3. The county got approval from the state health department to move to the next group.

North Carolina’s COVID-19 data looks encouraging, which has previously allowed for loosened restrictions and new legislation to reopen schools.

5.3% of recent tests were positive, and just over 1,000 people are battling COVID-19 at hospitals statewide – the fewest in five months.

Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). North Carolinians can find vaccine providers in their community through the NCDHHS online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The COVID-19 vaccine help center is available to answer vaccine questions at 888-675-4567.