By Anna Phillips | March 9, 2021 at 8:48 PM EST – Updated March 9 at 11:40 PM
SOUTHEASTERN N.C. (WECT) – All five counties in our viewing area are now offering vaccine appointments to anyone eligible under Groups 1, 2 and 3 per state guidelines.
Governor Roy Cooper announced the state would open for Group 3 on March 3, however, it was up to local providers to decide when to move forward.
Some counties chose to hold off in order to offer more appointment days to those in Groups 1 and 2. Some held clinic days specifically for school staff and childcare workers.
As of Tuesday, March 9, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties are all booking appointments for anyone who qualifies under Group 3 as vaccine supply becomes available.
At the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center, Judy Judson says she became eligible on her 65th birthday Saturday. She received her first dose of the vaccine Tuesday.
“It went great. Didn’t feel it. Waited my fifteen minutes and didn’t have a reaction,” Judson said. “I want to get closer to family and be able to get out and do more things — travel.”
“We’ve had lots of Group 3 people coming in and that’s awesome,” said New Hanover County Assistant Health Director Carla Turner. “We’re very excited about that.”
As the spring season nears and more and more people become vaccinated, COVID-19 metrics are trending down.
However, Turner warns, “That doesn’t mean that we can take our masks off and run around like we were doing a year ago.”
Group 3 is also the first group to potentially include teenagers under 18 — those essential restaurant and grocery store workers between 16 and 18 years old are now eligible, but only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for people aged 16 and up.
“They really need to know what they’re signing up for because we don’t want them to get here and then have to tell you, ‘I’m so sorry, we don’t have Pfizer today, we have Moderna’ and not be able to give you the vaccination,” Turner said.
Any 16 or 17-year-old hoping to receive a vaccine should call to book an appointment. Although those booking do not always know which vaccine will be available, they sometimes will. That’s dependent on the supply chain from the state.
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