Mecklenburg County jail inmates to get COVID-19 vaccine in April as part of Group 4

Part of Group 4 becomes eligible for vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Wednesday, March 17, the state of North Carolina is expanding eligibility to include a portion of Group 4.

“We’re excited to see the groups continue to open,” Nikki Nissen with Novant Health said. “It’s an opportunity for more people to get vaccinated and get us where we need to go.”

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Vaccine supply in the state of North Carolina is going up, but for hospital systems like Novant Health, demand continues to outweigh supply.

“They’re gonna be frustrated at the limited amount of appointments so I would just say continue to be patient,” Nissen said.

Two subsets of Group 4 become eligible Wednesday.

Gov. Cooper moves some members of Group 4 ahead to get COVID-19 vaccine sooner in North Carolina

The first is people ages 16-64 with medical conditions that put them at high risk for getting severe COVID-19 illness.

Some of those conditions include asthma, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

It also includes people living in close congregate settings, including homeless shelters and correctional facilities.

“I’ve lost many family members and many friends during this COVID,” Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said.

Sheriff McFadden rolled up his sleeve alongside his co-workers on Tuesday.

McFadden said plans are in the works to start bringing the one-dose shot to their roughly 1,500 inmates starting April 5.

“It is important for us to give the vaccines to the people here to slow this virus down,” he said. “If we don’t, we’ll simply have people without the vaccine out in the public who may still catch COVID-19.”

He said at the peak of coronavirus in December, the jail had 161 cases. For the last four weeks, there have been zero cases.

They are surveying inmates to determine who is interested.

Sheriff McFadden said it’s an important step in making the county as a whole safer and healthier.

“This is not going away unless we work together,” he said.

All of the hospital systems will be adding appointments as supply allows.

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