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Group 5 vaccine eligibility opens in North Carolina Wednesday

Anyone 16 and older who wants to get a shot can make a vaccine appointment.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina's vaccination eligibility opens up to the final Group 5 on Wednesday. This means anyone 16 and over who wants to get a shot will be able to make a vaccine appointment.

Some counties already got a head start on vaccinating Group 5 as early as last week.

"Because of the hard work of our providers and commitment of North Carolinians to take their shot we're getting people vaccinated more quickly than we predicted. This will help us turn the corner on the pandemic even sooner," said Gov. Roy Cooper in his briefing Tuesday.

North Carolinians who fall under Group 5 can sign for the Pfizer vaccine if they are 16 and older. Anyone 18 and up can make an appointment for the Moderna or the Johnson and Johnson one-dose shot.

RELATED: Cooper updates NC COVID-19 status ahead of Group 5 vaccinations

Davidson County mom Jesca Jaymes said she is relieved by this. 

"Seeing this is like a light at the end of the tunnel. We're going to start seeing the numbers drop some more tremendously, I think," Jesca Jaymes said.

She is among a number in Group 5 who got their shots last week.

"I was nervous just going to the grocery store, especially with having a newborn without having any extra protection, so we were super excited when we were able to go ahead and get the first dose," James said.

Group 5 includes 3.5 million people which is roughly 33% of the state. Cooper advised North Carolinians to encourage each other to get vaccinated. 

"If you know a loved one or friend who is hesitant make sure you talk with them about why it's so important and effective and safe," Cooper said. 

Greensboro business owner Jackie White said she did that over the Easter holiday.

"We want everybody to get vaccinated so that we can all come together and have fun and fellowship again," White said.

According to White, young people who fall under group 5 make up 30% of her family.

Vaccine eligibility means their Labor Day family reunion can happen this year.

"2020 was the first time that we did not have a family reunion in all my life since 1976. We had one virtually and virtual is nice but it's not the same as setting your eyes on people physically," she said.  

So far more than 25% of adults in North Carolina are fully vaccinated while about 38% of residents 18 and older are at least partially vaccinated.