Good Question: Why did the vaccine timeline change for those with underlying conditions?

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 8:02 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We’ve been getting a lot of Good Questions about the vaccine.

This question comes from Becky:

“When the vaccine first came out, people with underlying issues were in Group 1b, now we are in Group 4. Why did that change and do we have an estimated timeframe as to when we will get to get them?”

That timeline did change.

Last month, North Carolina officials announced that the rollout groups would change. They said it was for the sake of simplicity.

That meant expanding the vaccine to anyone age 65 and up. But also, reorganizing the rollout groups.

The change bumped people with underlying issues down to Group 4.

The state has said it’s trying to align with the CDC guidance.

Dr. Julie Swann, a professor at N.C. State who studies vaccine rollouts, explained how people are prioritized for vaccines.

“There are multiple objectives that both states and the national government is trying to achieve,” Swann said. “We’ve trying to reduce deaths, we’re trying to reduce hospitalizations, we’re trying to make sure that society can continue to function, things like grocery stores and food production as well as education. And of course, we are trying to address some of those inequities. “So some states may prioritize one of these more than the other. So, there are lots of things going on out there.”

As for a timeline for when you will be able to get your vaccine, that really is hard to predict. Right now, we are in Group 2.

That is anyone age 65 and up, people in nursing homes and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients. The next group, Group 3, begins February 24. That will happen in phases. First, it will go to teachers, police officers and other frontline workers.

It will be opened to more workers on March 10. It’s unclear which workers that will be.

Then, Group 4 will be eligible. That includes people with high-risk medical conditions, other essential workers, and people who are incarcerated.

After that, it becomes available to everyone. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he thinks that could happen sometime in April.

“By the time we get to April, that would be what I call for lack of better wording, open season,” Fauci said. “Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category can start to get vaccinated.”

If you have a Good Question, send it to us and we will try to get you an answer. Use the hashtag OYS Tonight on Twitter or email

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