Local Health Departments prepare for Group 3 vaccine recipients

Those considered frontline essential workers now eligible

All of N.C.'s Group 3 now eligible for vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Starting today 1000′s more in North Carolina will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. Those in Group 3, which includes a lot of people considered to be frontline essential workers are now able to take the shot.

In Rowan County on Wednesday, of the more than 1000 people getting their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it would be difficult to find anyone as happy as 74-year-old Omolora Fodeke.

“It’s just beautiful,” Fodeke said. “It’s incredible the way they responded to my needs and took care of me and made sure I got my vaccine.”

An artist, Fodeke moved to Rowan County from Nigeria 15 years ago. She was so happy with this process, she gave local leaders prints of her artwork.

“I am so honored that she thought so much of us to do that because we think so much of Miss Omolora,” said Rowan County Fire Marshal Deborah Horne.

The dozens of volunteers working the clinic on Wednesday will be hoping to see more smiling faces in the next few weeks as frontline essential workers in Group 3 get their shots.

“Those are our frontline essential workers, they’re included in eight different sectors like critical manufacturing, food and agriculture, public safety and public health, social workers, and a number of government and community workers,” said Alyssa Harris, Interim Director of the Rowan County Health Department.

As of today, all senior citizens 65 and older, healthcare workers, long-term staff and residents and frontline workers are eligible to receive a vaccine.

Groups 1-3 are eligible as of March 3, 2021. Group 4, which includes people with underlying health conditions, will be able to get vaccinated as early as March 24. The date for Group 5, which opens it up for the general public, has not been determined.

Group 3: Frontline essential workers

Education and childcare

  • Teachers, teacher assistants and student teachers
  • School owners, directors and supervisors
  • Bus and van drivers
  • Family support staff
  • Food service workers
  • Classroom support and administrative staff
  • Custodial and maintenance staff
  • Therapists and medical staff
  • Required on-site consultants
  • Media & IT specialists
  • School safety personnel
  • Librarians
  • School administrative staff
  • Instructional support staff
  • School nurses (became eligible in Group 1)

Food and agriculture

All workers in stores that sell groceries and medicine, including:

  • Meat packing workers
  • Food processing workers
  • Farm workers
  • Migrant farm/fishery workers
  • Food distribution and supply chain workers
  • Restaurant workers


  • Workers manufacturing medical supplies, medical equipment or PPE
  • Workers manufacturing products needed for food and agricultural supply chains


  • College and university instructors and support staff

Community and government

  • U.S. Postal Service and other shipping workers
  • Court workers
  • Elected officials
  • Clergy
  • Homeless shelter staff
  • Veterinarians, veterinarian staff and veterinarian students

Healthcare and public health

  • Public health workers
  • Social workers

First responders and public safety

  • Firefighters and EMS
  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections workers
  • Security officers
  • Public agency workers responding to abuse and neglect


  • Public transit workers
  • Division of Motor Vehicles workers
  • Transportation maintenance and repair technicians
  • Workers supporting highway infrastructure

Veterans getting the vaccine can visit county run clinics, but they also have the option of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salisbury.

“We are running ahead of schedule most days, we have the capacity to get the veterans vaccinated,” said Dr. Trent Sutherland of the Salisbury VA Healthcare System.

They’ve also dropped the age requirement at the VA and so far, have vaccinated about 14,000 veterans from across the piedmont. The Salisbury VAMC has more than 90,000 registered patients across the region.

“We have an efficient process and we are working really hard to get it out to our veterans,” Sutherland added.

For anyone else, county health departments will likely be the main spot for the shot. Alyssa Harris says check the state web site before trying to set an appointment: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines/find-your-spot-take-your-shot

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