By WECT Staff | March 11, 2021 at 11:03 AM EST – Updated March 11 at 4:22 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – Gov. Cooper announced Thursday that some members of Group 4 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting March 17.
“Today, based on vaccine providers’ feedback and the expected vaccine supply over the next several weeks, we are announcing that some members of Group 4 will be eligible to receive their vaccine beginning March 17, a week earlier than anticipated,” Cooper said. “Group 4 will open to people with medical conditions that put them at higher-risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Also eligible starting March 17 are people living in some congregate settings that increase risk of exposure to COVID-19. More Group 4 members will be eligible beginning April 7.
“As with previous statewide group eligibility changes, some providers in some parts of the state may not be ready to move into Group 4 by March 17th, and we want them to make sure they are still meeting the demand in Groups 1-3.”
Those eligible on March 17 are people with medical conditions that have been identified by the CDC as increasing risk for severe COVID-19 illness, including:
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Diabetes type 1 or 2
- 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
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, including Down Syndrome
- Liver disease, including hepatitis
- Neurologic conditions,such as dementia and schizophrenia
- 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)
Also included in this group are those who are homeless or living in a homeless shelter or those in a correctional facility.
According to Cooper, about 11 percent of North Carolinians are fully vaccinated and about 18 percent have had their first shots. Also, 66 percent of people 65 and older have had at least one shot.
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