By WECT Staff | March 25, 2021 at 1:33 PM EDT – Updated March 25 at 2:37 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – All adults in North Carolina will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting April 7, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday.
“Today I am announcing that we will move to the rest of Group 4 on March 31. This includes essential workers in commercial services such as hospitality and retail, chemical and pharmaceutical facilities, construction, housing and real estate and other essential sectors,” Cooper said. “Then the biggest change will happen on April 7th when we will open eligibility to Group 5, and that means all adults will then be eligible for the vaccine.
“The vaccine is our path to recovery. It’s the road to normalcy. The pandemic isn’t over. We need to keep up our guard, wear our masks and act responsibly. That’ll save lives & spark the economy. We’re close to getting where we want to be, let’s stay the course and get there faster.”
According to Cooper, almost 4.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state. Almost a third of the adult population in the state has gotten at least one shot, and one in five are fully vaccinated.
State health leaders also discussed a new public private partnership called Healthier Together
“The accelerated timeline will allow the state to double down on its “fast and fair” approach to getting shots into arms,” the Governor’s Office said in a news release. “Healthier Together, a new public private partnership with the NC Counts Coalition, will help increase the number of individuals from historically marginalized populations that receive COVID-19 vaccinations and provide a foundation for a longer-term framework for health equity.
“Healthier Together will implement strategies to increase access to vaccines to historically marginalized populations by conducting outreach and education efforts, coordinating local vaccine events at trusted and accessible locations, helping people schedule and get to vaccine appointments, providing on-site translation services, and helping ensure people get to second dose appointments.”
Officials say that Healthier Together will provide grants to community-based organizations and will hire regional health equity teams to support community-based organizations in their outreach and education efforts, help match vaccine providers with community-based organizations, and work with DHHS to ensure that communities have the vaccine supply, outreach, and transportation resources needed to get people vaccinated.
“Our work will support the state’s ongoing priority to maximize the speed and efficiency of North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution while adhering to its commitment to equity,” said Stacey Carless, Executive Director of the NC Counts Coalition. “Through Healthier Together, we will begin working with the state to address and dismantle systemic and structural barriers to healthier equity.”
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