‘About time’: Those with high-risk health conditions look forward to N.C.’s Group 4 eligibility in a few weeks

Group 4 vaccinations expected to start March 24

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With eligibility for Group 3 of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Wednesday, that puts us one step closer to the next group.

Group 4 eligibility will begin in just three weeks – on March 24.

That means people who are living with high-risk conditions, from ages 16 to 64, will soon have their chance to be vaccinated.

On that list include people battling cancer, diabetes type 1 or 2, have heart conditions or are living with a weakened immune system. Pregnant women can also roll their sleeves up and receive the vaccine.

Essential workers such as retail or if you live in shared housing are eligible in Group 4.

All of N.C. Group 3 eligible for vaccine on Wednesday

Many of those most at risk of being impacted by COVID-19 say they have waited far too long to get vaccinated.

Every day those with high-risk conditions are worried about their health. Add the dangers of COVID-19 and it’s forced them to extra precautions.

“About time for the high-risk community to finally be able to get their vaccine,” said Jennifer Williams, who has several medical conditions.

Jennifer Williams and Justina Williams have high-risk medical conditions.

They told WBTV that a vaccine for them is a matter of life and death.

“I have a 50% probability of death,” 36-year-old Jennifer Williams said. “If I contract COVID-19.”

At first, Jennifer Williams thought she would have to wait longer for Group 4.

However, on Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper accelerated the process.

The rest of Group 3, frontline essential workers, will be eligible on March 3, instead of March 10, which was the initial plan.

Cooper then said Group 4 will be followed closely behind.

This comes on the heels of Johnson & Johnson having its one-dose vaccine authorized, and that North Carolina will receive 80,000 doses in its first shipment.

As a caregiver for her high-risk daughter and grandmother. Jennifer Williams said she got the first dose last month.

“I also have the connective tissue disorder which means that I’m unlikely to survive a ventilator,” Jennifer Williams said. “So, the thing that would be most likely to save me. Wouldn’t save me.”

Justina Williams, 28 years old, said as an advocate and living herself with sickle cell anemia, a disease that affects African-Americans at a disproportionate rate, is risky.

“It is a disease that affects the red blood cells. I’ve had pneumonia, there are stroke complications,” Justina Williams said.

Justina Williams told WBTV she understands her role in overcoming the hesitancy still found in the Black community.

“For me, I’m going to get it simply because I know that I’m high risk already,” she said.

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