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'I got my sticker' | All of group 3 can get coronavirus vaccines in North Carolina

A Greensboro grocery store worker got her first COVID-19 dose on the first day that frontline workers were eligible to get their vaccines.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The next wave of North Carolinians started getting vaccinated against the coronavirus Wednesday.

It's a day many have been waiting months for.

"I got my sticker," Bridget Vargas said, "People will know I'm vaccinated today at least."

Vargas arrived at her job as a supervisor at Bestway Grocery in Greensboro having gotten her first vaccine dose.

"(I know) that I'm doing my part in keeping the community safe and protected, but my sister did just have a baby and I do feel a lot better knowing that I can go in and like visit her," Vargas said.

Vargas is one of the tens of thousands of frontline essential workers who became eligible under Group 3 of vaccination when it opened a week early.

Hours after getting her first dose she felt relieved.

"Before I got the vaccine there was that very high anxiety," Vargas said, "I did sit down and I thought about you know, this is happening because of a pandemic so like I said there was a lot of relief on my end."

Vargas got her first dose at Walgreens but Guilford County has their vaccine appointments scheduled for Thursday.

More than 2,000 Guilford County vaccine appointments will go to anyone already eligible--healthcare workers, people 65 and up and frontliners. The remaining  3,500 plus appointments will go straight to teachers.

"We will continue to focus on educators since we did put those plans in place two weeks ago," Guilford County Public Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann said.

There's a new label on some of the 6,000 vaccine doses coming to Guilford County. Two thousand doses of the Johnson and Johnson one dose vaccine were given to the county.

Dr. Vann said the new one dose vaccine is a new tool in the tool belt for the fight against coronavirus.

"We are going to assign them at random and recipients will not be able to select the vaccine since we cannot select the allocations that we receive either," Dr. Vann said.

New clinics run by FEMA and UNC Greensboro open next week.

UNCG will vaccinate university employees in Guilford County and Emergency Management Director Don Campbell said those doses will come from Guilford County's vaccine supply.

The arrival of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and moving to the next phase of vaccination came one year after the first coronavirus case in North Carolina.

Dr. Vann reflected as our state marked the anniversary.

"To be in this place right now with some type of hope and some type of silver lining that the pandemic is going to be nearing the end," Dr. Vann said, "Definitely a different conversation than last year around this time."

Vargas said it's hard to believe how far we've come.

"I think people thought that it was going to be something that would go away in a couple of weeks. That did not happen," Vargas said, "Working, there are difficult days, there are good days. You know, I'm hoping that this is going to be a much better year."