Alana Gill receives the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Stony Brook University on April 6,. (Image via Getty Images/Raychel Brightman of Newsday) Vaccine eligibility opening up.
Alana Gill receives the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Stony Brook University on April 6,. (Image via Getty Images/Raychel Brightman of Newsday)

Anyone over 16 can now get a COVID-19 vaccine in NC, though challenges remain in finding appointments.

In North Carolina, the wait is over. As of today, adults and teenagers over 16 in NC are eligible to get one of the three vaccines available in the state. 

No more checking the complicated lists of who is considered a crucial employee, or whose pre-existing ailments count and whose don’t. As long as you’re over 18, you can get  the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. And if you are 16 or older, you are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, because the other two have not been approved for use in people who are under 18 years of age. 

You don’t need an ID. The shots are free and you don’t need to show proof of insurance. If you need a ride, contact your local transit agency here, and you can call the state’s vaccine hotline at 888-675-4567 for more information. 

Just go to your county health department or to the state hub here, to find a location that works best for you, and to find which locations offer the Pfizer shots. 

NC Ahead of Nation in Vaccine Schedule

North Carolina is ahead of the national timeline, as President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that all adults in the US would be eligible for doses by April 19.

Though you are now eligible today, you may not immediately  find an appointment. Supplies will be limited at first, NC health officials said, and you’ll need to be patient.

But, both the Biden administration and NC health officials said there would soon be enough supply to meet the expanded eligibility, and that the focus would then shift toward those who can get a vaccine, but won’t. 

“The supply is continuing to increase,” NC Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference on Tuesday. In time, “we’re going to have plenty of supply.” 

In fact, he said, supply would soon exceed demand, causing a new challenge: finding the holdouts. 

“We’re all going to have to flip it over to make sure that we are encouraging people to get vaccinated,” Cooper said. “And that’s something we’re all going to play a part in.”

Every North Carolina resident, he said, will have to join doctors, religious leaders, health officials and state celebrities in reaching out to those hesitant, afraid of, or outright defiant about getting vaccinated. 

Because getting as many people vaccinated as possible is the answer to the pandemic.

“The more people we vaccinate, the more we can safely do,” Cooper said. “It’s the key to saving lives and moving us forward.” He added: “And we all know that the most common side effect is pure joy.”

So far, state data shows, about 3.2 million people have gotten the first of the two-dose vaccines, nearly 2 million have gotten both, and more than 160,000 have gotten the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That is more than 5.2 million doses administered. 

Almost 40% of adults are at least partially vaccinated and more than a quarter of North Carolinians are fully vaccinated, Cooper said. And 73% of people 65 and older have gotten at least one shot. 

Because of the vaccine success so far, a detailed map showing the severity of the spread in each county, now has zero counties in the worst category.

“This is great news,” Cooper said.  

“We’re in as good of shape as we can be, right now,” he said, “we just got to keep at it a little while longer.” 

Keep Those Masks On

We cannot let our guard down, he said. 

“This is especially true as we see rising numbers in other parts of the country and across the world. This virus is still out there, and new, more infectious variants are spreading.”

We  have to continue wearing masks, state and national health officials say, keeping socially distant, and getting vaccinated. In short, continuing to do what has worked so far. 

 “We are so close,” he said, “and every day counts.”

“Every time we wear a mask makes a difference,” Cooper said.  “Every person who gets a shot makes our whole state safer.”