North Carolina Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility Sooner Than Expected

By Sarah Tate

March 11, 2021

As North Carolinians continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and the state begins receiving more vaccine doses, North Carolina plans to expand vaccine eligibility to reach even more residents sooner than expected, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday (March 11). Some vaccine providers will limited vaccine supply may hold off on the extension while they continue vaccinating those in Groups 2 and 3, WCNC reports.

Starting Wednesday (March 17), some residents in Group 4 will be eligible to receive a vaccine, a full week before the state had planned to expand vaccine rollout. The first half of Group 4 that will soon have access to the vaccine includes people in congregate settings and those with a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of severe illness from the virus, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised
  • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological conditions
  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Severe Obesity
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Type 1 Diabetes mellitus
  • Type 2 Diabetes mellitus

The rest of Group 4, including other essential workers, will be eligible on April 7. To find out which group you are in, visit the state's coronavirus website at

Gov. Cooper said the move to Group 4 is good news.

"It's possible because of the tireless work of our state health officials, vaccine providers, federal partners, our North Carolina National Guard and Emergency Management and many others," he said. "I want to know your work is making all the difference."

The expansion news comes one day after the state's largest and only FEMA-run vaccination site opened in a Greensboro mall. The clinic at the Four Seasons Town Centre plans to administer 168,000 doses over the next eight weeks.

Photo: Getty Images

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