In NC, if you’ve smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, you can get vaccinated starting March 24

In NC, if you’ve smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, you can get vaccinated starting March 24
If you are a smoker (current or former) who has consumed at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, you too can get vaccinated in Group 4 (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina is moving to vaccinate those in Group 4 against COVID-19 beginning on March 24.

As part of Group 4, if you are a smoker (current or former) who has consumed at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, you too can get vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Group 4 is also 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 also included.

NCDHHS also shared clarifications for Groups 1 and 4. The definition of long-term care in Group 1 has been updated for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Higher-risk medical conditions for Group 4 include intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, and neurologic conditions, such as dementia.

This week, the federal government authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) one-shot vaccine, and more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in the state beginning on Wednesday.

“A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner, which will save lives and slow the spread,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. in the release.

Cooper says he will continue to advocate to increase vaccine supply in North Carolina. Since January 20, the amount of vaccine received by the state has increased by 135 percent, according to data from NCDHHS.

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