NC to begin vaccinating people with high-risk health conditions against COVID-19 on March 17, a full week early


RALEIGH, N.C. — Many North Carolinians will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than expected.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday that some members of group 4, which includes people with certain health conditions, will become eligible for the vaccine on March 17.

“Today, based on vaccine providers’ feedback and the expected vaccine supply over the next several weeks, we are announcing that some members of Group 4 will be eligible to receive their vaccine beginning March 17, a week earlier than anticipated,” Cooper said.

“Group 4 will open to people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Also eligible starting March 17 are people living in some congregate settings that increase risk of exposure to COVID-19. More Group 4 members will be eligible beginning April 7.”

Cooper had previously said the group would become eligible on March 24. This announcement means many will become eligible a full week earlier.

Group 4 vaccinations will begin with people with high-risk medical conditions, people experiencing homelessness, and incarcerated people who have not been vaccinated.

The state will move to other essential workers and other people in close group living settings next at a later date.

Some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to Group 4 on this date if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1 through 3.

Vaccinations will be available for those with the following:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke 
  • Chronic kidney disease 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dementia or other neurologic condition 
  • Diabetes type 1 or 2 
  • Down Syndrome 
  • 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
  • Liver disease, including hepatitis 
  • 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)

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