NC health leaders announce updated vaccination rollout plan

NC health leaders announce updated vaccination rollout plan

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - State health leaders have announced an updated rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccinations in North Carolina.

The state currently is in Phase 1A of the rollout meaning health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, workers administering vaccine and long-term care staff and residents can get the vaccine.

Dr. Mandy Cohen with the NC Department of Health and Human Services said the state hopes to enter Phase 1B in early to mid January.

In Phase 1B, vaccines will administered to the following groups in this order:

  • Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older regardless of medical condition or living situation. People do not have to have a chronic health condition.
  • Group 2: Health care and frontline essential workers who are 50 years of age or older.
  • Group 3: Frontline workers of any age and health care workers of any age, regardless of whether they work directly with COVID-19 patients.

“The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (firefighters, police), education (child care, teachers, support staff), manufacturing, corrections officers, public transit, grocery store, food and agriculture, and US postal workers,” the NCDHHS said in a news release.

Cohen said during Tuesday’s press conference that the move is based primarily on updated guidance from the CDC that prioritizes older individuals as well as those with the highest risk of virus exposure.

In Phase 2, that prioritization is also present, and the following will be able to get vaccines in this order:

  • Group 1: Anyone ages 65-74 years regardless of medical condition or living situation.
  • Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years with a medical condition that increases risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
  • Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who has not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
  • Group 4: Essential workers as defined by the CDC who have not yet been vaccinated.

In Phase 3, vaccines will be available to the following:

  • College, university and high school students 16 or older.
  • Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.

In Phase 4, everyone else who wants a vaccine will be eligible.

Cohen warned that it will likely be “well into spring” before we get into Phase 4 of the rollout.

“The vaccines offer hope, but this hope will take time to fulfill,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “We continue to distribute the vaccines across the state as quickly as we get them.”

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