RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper received his first COVID-19 vaccine dose on Wednesday.
Wednesday also marked one year since the first COVID-19 case was identified in North Carolina.
“I’m proud to have received my first shot today and grateful for the health care workers who helped make it happen. This life-saving vaccine will help us beat this pandemic. I encourage all North Carolinians to get theirs when it’s their turn,” Cooper said in a statement.
Cooper received the vaccine as state leaders opened vaccinations to the rest of Group 3 individuals which include elected officials, among others.
Cooper opened Group 3 vaccinations to all essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic on Tuesday.
Workers in critical manufacturing, grocery store employees, farmworkers, college and university support staff, restaurant employees, firefighters and EMS, and law enforcement are among some groups that will be eligible to get their shot starting March 3.
North Carolina divided Group 3 into two phases, beginning with childcare workers and educators on Feb. 24.
“The state and our providers continue to work extremely hard to get people vaccinated in a way that’s fast and fair,” said Cooper. “The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly. Our essential frontline workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as the federal government has also increased vaccine in North Carolina beyond the state’s allocation.
A new federally-supported site will open in Greensboro next week, and Walgreens is providing vaccine through the federal pharmacy program. The vaccination site will remain open for eight weeks and is expected to vaccinate 3,000 people a day with options for drive-thru service in the parking lot and walk-in service.
“This federally supported vaccine center will help North Carolina get more shots in arms and assist us in reaching more underserved communities,” said Cooper.
North Carolina is set to receive more than 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. However, next week the state will receive no doses of that vaccine, according to state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
On March 24, North Carolina those a part of Group 4 will be able to get their vaccine shot.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Group 4 is composed of adults 16-64 years old at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness. People experiencing homelessness, and incarcerated people who have not been vaccinated are included.
This population includes anyone with conditions that have been identified by the CDC as increasing risk for severe COVID-19 illness:
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Dementia or other neurologic condition
- Diabetes type 1 or 2
- Down Syndrome
- A heart condition such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from: immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant
- Liver disease, including hepatitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Overweight or obesity
- Sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia
- Smoking (current or former, defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime)