One year after North Carolina reported its first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, all essential front-line workers are eligible to get vaccinated against the disease.
Starting Wednesday, pharmacies across North Carolina, in stores like Walgreens and Harris Teeter, actually have some appointments available, including some this week. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that the state was opening vaccine appointments to the remainder of Group 3 one week ahead of the previously announced date of March 10.
“The state and our providers continue to work extremely hard to get people vaccinated in a way that’s fast and fair,” Cooper said. “The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly. Our essential front-line workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”
Group 3 includes first responders and emergency personnel such as police and firefighters, people who work in-person in manufacturing, food and agriculture, grocery stores, government workers and our clergy, among others. The state will begin Group 4 vaccinations on March 24.
As the race to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible continues, tens of thousands of doses of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine will arrive in North Carolina Wednesday. State health leaders are expecting more than 80,000 doses, with 10,000 of them going to Mecklenburg County’s health department. Those 10,000 shots will be shared with Atrium Health and Novant Health, the area’s two largest health care providers.
The county will begin booking appointments from March 10-31 starting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 4.
“I think the main point here is that this is a fluid process as we learn more about what vaccine is available, and I think all of us are working as hard as we can to get those folks who need to be vaccinated,” Health Director Gibbie Harris said.