Boxes of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are seen Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 in Pittsboro, N.C. in a refrigerator at Piedmont Health Senior Care, a federally qualified health center. (Image via AP/Gerry Broome) Virus Outbreak North Carolina
Boxes of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are seen Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 in Pittsboro, N.C. in a refrigerator at Piedmont Health Senior Care, a federally qualified health center. (Image via AP/Gerry Broome)

More than 1 million people are fully vaccinated now in North Carolina, as NC looks to move to Group 4 of eligibility.

Lots of you are rolling up your sleeves for vaccines these days.

North Carolina now has more than 1.1 million people fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, meaning that about 13% of the state’s adults have been vaccinated.  About 22% of North Carolina adults have gotten at least one of a two-dose regimen.  

“This is a huge milestone,” Cooper said. “This puts us even closer to a time when we can hug our loved ones and gather without fear of severe illness.”

But we’re not all there yet, he cautioned, urging people to keep on social distancing practices and wearing masks.

The state is also getting some good press for the work it’s doing to make sure those vaccines are being distributed in an equitable way. The state leads the nation in reporting the racial and ethnic data of vaccine recipients, allowing NC leaders to see who is, and who isn’t, getting access.

“We know you have to be able to see the problem in order to fix it,” Cooper said.

And things are  getting better from the start of the vaccine rollout, when white North Carolinians disproportionately signed up for the limited vaccine supply. Recent weeks saw 20% of its first doses of vaccines go to Black North Carolinians, Cooper said.

How to Get Your Vaccine in NC

Meanwhile, a federal vaccine site in Greensboro opens up tomorrow with plans to vaccinate up to 3,000 people a day for the next eight weeks.  Appointments are already booked for the next few days, but you can sign up by going to gsomassvax.org or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at 1-888-675-4567.

People in Groups 1, 2, and 3 are eligible for the vaccine right now in North Carolina, which includes those over the age of 65, frontline essential workers, and health care workers.  You can find out what group you’re in here.

You can find vaccination sites, and more about eligibility, at the NC DHHS website here.

NC-Vaccine-groups
Provided by NC DHHS.

In the not-as-great news, North Carolina likely won’t  get any more units of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine until the end of the month, said Mandy Cohen,  NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary. The state did get 80,000 doses of the one-shot vaccine last week and providers around the state are still distributing that. 

But supplies of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (which requires two doses) are still flowing in, and NC should get about 225,000 first doses this next week.

“We are seeing supply improve,” Cohen said.

That means the state may be moving to the next group of vaccine recipients even earlier than expected. Initially, Group 4, which includes adults under 65 with health conditions that put them at risk for serious complications from COVID-19, were supposed to start eligibility on March 24.

That’ll likely be moved up, and Cohen said. 

April Showers Bring… More Immunity?

Expect a lot more vaccine availability next month, Cohen said.

“We’ll really ramp up when we’ll get into April,” she said.

Cohen got a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, when she joined the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the Goldsboro preacher and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, at an event to emphasize the safety, and necessity, of the COVID-19 vaccines.

She had a sore arm and general  general achiness that night, but was fine otherwise, Cohen said. And Cohen already has plans to see her parents later this month, given that both she and they will be fully vaccinated.

“It’s a great feeling of relief,” Cohen said. “One and done.”

For more information about how to get your vaccine, go to the NC DHHS website here.