NC rolls out phased COVID-19 vaccine plan


Joe Burbank - TNS

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis watches Seminole County resident Gloria Calderone receive the Moderna vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus during a press conference touting the expanded rollout of the state vaccination program, at Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 in Longwood, Florida.

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

With two coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines rolled out across the United States and several others nearing the final stages before emergency authorization, states like North Carolina have announced the order in which people will receive the vaccine through a phased vaccine plan. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), there are several phases in which North Carolina residents will be prioritized based on their age, current health and their involvement or level of exposure with the COVID-19 virus patients due to their job. 

There will be four phases and subphases within those. Phase 1a, Phase 1b (groups one-three), Phase 2 (groups one-four), Phase 3 and Phase 4.   

Phase 1a includes health care workers who are working directly with COVID-19 patients and long-term care patients and staff. This phase has already begun. 

Phase 1b group one includes anyone over the age of 75 regardless of their health. Phase 1b group two includes health care and essential workers over the age of 50. Phase 1b group three includes any frontline or health care worker regardless of their age or how closely they work 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,” per the NCDHHS press release. 

Phase 2 includes adults at high risk of catching any other severe illness including the COVID-19 virus. 

Phase 2 group one includes adults 65-74, group two includes anyone ages 16-64 with a medical condition that puts them at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, group three includes anyone imprisoned or living in other close living settings and group four includes essential workers who have not received the vaccine yet. 

Phase 3 includes students older than 16 including college, university and high schoolers.  

Lastly, Phase 4 includes anyone who wants to receive the vaccine and did not receive one in the previous phases. 

You can read more about the COVID-19 vaccines and plans in North Carolina here

“While there is still much to do, we head into 2021 with a powerful tool to stop this pandemic– vaccines,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “However, because supplies are very limited, it’s going to be several months before vaccines are widely available to everyone. Until most people are vaccinated, everyone needs to continue to wear a mask, wait six feet apart and wash their hands.”