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More NC frontline workers can get vaccine starting Wednesday

As of Wednesday, additional members of Group 3 in the state’s vaccination plan will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen announced that eligibility update Tuesday afternoon. The state had already made childcare workers, K-12 teachers and other school personnel eligible as of Feb. 24. The rest of Group 3 includes essential workers covered under eight categories: critical manufacturing, education (college and university instructors and support staff), essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety and transportation. A complete breakdown of those categories can be found HERE. 

The recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, which has an efficacy rate of approximately 66%, will improve the state’s vaccine supply.

“The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly,” Cooper said. “Our essential frontline workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”

Beaufort County Health Director Jim Madson told the Beaufort County Commissioners that he endorses the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, particularly for people who are unable to travel to the vaccine site more than once. The health department expects to receive allocations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and it will use those doses for targeted vaccination efforts. The department will stick with Moderna’s vaccine for community vaccine clinics.

“Unfortunately it’s very difficult for me to try to bring (Johnson & Johnson) into the POD (point of dispensing), because having two vaccines is very difficult for us to try to do,” Madson said. “So it’s the best strategy to let the pharmacies and other clinics that get Johnson & Johnson to focus on those.”

To make a vaccination appointment with the health department, call 252-940-6150 or register online HERE. 

State officials also provided a timeline for Group 4, which includes people who are at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions, as well as other essential workers who haven’t been covered in previous groups. The adults with underlying conditions, as well as people in certain congregate living settings, will become eligible on March 24.

“This is a really exciting moment,” Cohen said. “A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and keep people out of the hospital and prevent deaths from this pandemic.”