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All adults in NC will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine April 7, Gov. Cooper announces

North Carolinians ages 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine on April 7.

RALEIGH, N.C. — More North Carolinians wanting the COVID-19 vaccine will soon be able to get it. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday vaccines will be available to the remaining essential workers in Group 4 on March 31 and for everyone ages 16 or older in Group 5 on April 7. 

“I’m grateful for North Carolinians who are taking this seriously and getting the shot when it’s their time and I’m encouraged that North Carolina will be able to open eligibility to all adults well ahead of the President’s May 1 goal,” Cooper said.

Before anyone of age can get the shot, the remaining people in Group 4 will be allowed to book appointments first, starting March 31. This group includes workers in commercial services such as hospitality, retail, chemical and pharmaceutical facilities, construction, housing, real estate, and other essential sectors. 

Then vaccine scheduling opens to everyone 16 and up on April 7. 

Several county health departments have already expanded vaccine appointments to Group 5, citing a lesser demand in the previous groups. 

State leaders are closely watching COVID-19 trends and say the numbers are moving in the right direction as more people get vaccinated. 

"We have the goal right now of getting as many North Carolinians vaccinated as possible it's while we accelerating the timeline and our partners have done an incredible job being fast and fair," said Mandy Cohen, NC DHHS secretary.

 "It'll be a really good thing once the world opens back up and we're able to be together again, eating and enjoying each other," said Lasonya Holmes Boulware of My Girls Catering and Food Truck.

Holmes-Boulware specializes in 'Soul Food' and has been restricted to smaller orders for intimate family gatherings, celebrations, and holidays. She's also relied on parking lots to get some customers.

Small business owners like her said they can't wait for a full reopening. She said more vaccinations means more gatherings and larger events like conferences and festivals which would translate into more revenue for her business.

"I'm excited to have a vaccination, I am excited to have the vaccine, however, I still think everybody should be cautious for a while just to make sure we can kind of get back to our norm," she said.

Health leaders are urging folks to keep their guard up because we aren't out of the pandemic yet. That means wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands frequently.

Full Press Conference: