CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The next phase of the vaccine distribution is getting underway across North Carolina, although each county is operating on a different timeline due to limited supplies.
North Carolina health officials announced a plan last week on rolling out the COVID-19 vaccinations to residents.
Distribution is broken down into phases and groups. “Anyone” who wants to get a vaccine will be able to do so in Phase 4, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said. The vaccination plan aligns with new federal recommendations.
“While there is still much to do, we head into 2021 with a powerful tool to stop this pandemic– vaccines,” Cohen said.
The state was under Phase 1a during the announcement, which includes vaccine distribution to health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long term care staff and residents. Phase 1b starts Monday, January 4 across the state. Not all counties in the state are operating at the same pace with distribution.
Mecklenburg County health leaders say vaccine supplies are still limited and appointments will be made available as that supply allows. “We will all work to get this vaccine out as soon as possible,” county leaders say.
The main county clinic is set up at Bojangles’ Coliseum off E Independence Boulevard in Charlotte, where vaccinations will take place 6 days a week.
This clinic starts on Monday Jan. 4 and is currently only for people in the state’s Phase 1a and is by appointment only. No one can just show up.
Phase 1b includes adults 75 years old and older and frontline essential workers. “There is not enough vaccine in phase 1b for everyone to be vaccinated,” Cohen said, which is why distribution will be broken down into groups.
Below are the phases and groups provided by NCDHHS.
- Health care workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19, including staff responsible for cleaning and maintenance in those areas
- Health care workers administering vaccine
- Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes.
- Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation
- Group 2: Health care workers and frontline essential workers 50 years or older. The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.
- Group 3: Health care workers and frontline essential workers of any age
Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness.
Vaccinations will happen by group in the following order:
- Group 1: Anyone 65-74 years old, regardless of health status or living situation
- Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
- Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
- Group 4: Essential workers not yet vaccinated. The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, and public safety (e.g., engineers), and public health workers.
Phase 3: Students
- College and university students
- K-12 students age 16 and over. Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.
Phase 4: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.
“We are just into this,” Gov. Roy Cooper said of vaccine distribution. “We ask people to be as patient as you can.”
As of December 26, more than 63,000 people in North Carolina have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Click here for the latest numbers by county
Monday, at least 899 nursing and assisted living facilities in North Carolina were given the green light to start administering their first doses of the vaccine.
And that’s just the numbers from CVS Pharmacy. Walgreens also began. Cohen says those numbers are not included in the vaccine dashboard.
Its a chapter families have been waiting for, in this long journey of getting back to normal.
CVS Pharmacy says the nearly 900 long-term care facilities they’ll be working with will get the Moderna vaccine.
Walgreens representatives weren’t immediately available to answer specifics about their vaccination plan for facilities in North Carolina.
Click here for the latest virus numbers across the state
“All vaccine providers are expected to ensure that vaccine is administered equitably within each group,” NCDHHS says. “NCDHHS has a specific focus on building trust with historically marginalized populations. Longstanding and continuing racial and ethnic injustices in our health care system contribute to lack of trust in vaccines.”
The department says they’re partnering with trusted leaders and organizations to provide accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines to all North Carolinians and ensure equitable access to vaccines. To find FAQs and more vaccine information from NCDHHS, visit yourspotyourshot.nc.gov.