By DEUCE NIVEN
More North Carolinians will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations on March 31, all adults in the state will be on April 7, Gov. Roy Cooper and state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., announced Thursday.
A second phase of adults in Group 4 of the state’s eligibility plan may get their shots beginning March 31. That includes essential workers and people living in other congregate settings such as student dormitories will be eligible for vaccination such as frontline workers who do not have to in person for work and those in a range of sectors such as construction, energy, financial services, public works and others.
All eligible adults may begin receiving vaccine on April 7. Those who are 18 and older may receive any of the approved vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer vaccines have been approved for those as young as 16, Dr. Cohen said, so those who are 16 and 17 will be limited to that vaccine.
“I’m grateful for North Carolinians who are taking this seriously and getting the shot when it’s their time,” Gov. Cooper said. “I’m encouraged that North Carolina will be able to open eligibility to all adults well ahead of the President’s May 1 goal.”
Gov. Cooper encouraged those who have been vaccinated or are ready for their shot to encourage others as health leaders locally, nationally and globally stress the importance of as many people as possible receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, an essential step towards moving past the pandemic.
“Vaccine is our path to recovery,” Gov. Cooper said. “It is the road to normalcy.”
‘Fast and fair’
This accelerated timeline will allow the state to double down on its “fast and fair” approach to getting shots into arms, both Gov. Cooper and Dr. Cohen said.
Healthier Together, a new public private partnership with the NC Counts Coalition, will help increase the number of individuals from historically marginalized populations that receive COVID-19 vaccinations and provide a foundation for a longer-term framework for health equity.
“Our work will support the state’s ongoing priority to maximize the speed and efficiency of North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution while adhering to its commitment to equity,” said Stacey Carless, Executive Director of the NC Counts Coalition. “Through Healthier Together, we will begin working with the state to address and dismantle systemic and structural barriers to healthier equity.”
As part of this initiative, Healthier Together will provide grants to community-based organizations to do this work and hire regional health equity teams to support community-based organizations in their outreach and education efforts, help match vaccine providers with community-based organizations, and work with DHHS to ensure that communities have the vaccine supply, outreach, and transportation resources they need to get people vaccinated. The program is funded by federal COVID-19 dollars.
“Healthier Together is another embodiment of our commitment to equity,” said Dr. Cohen. “It brings together the expertise and relationships of trusted community-based organizations with the policy tools and resources of state government to create a new partnership model to address vaccine equity.”
For accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina visit here.