In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper announced plans to open up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to the rest of Group 4, such as frontline hospitality and retail workers and college students living in dorms, starting March 31.

Then, on April 7, eligibility will open for all residents in Group 5, or all adults age 16 and over. 

“We have been faster and gotten more supply than we had anticipated and that is fantastic,” Cooper said. “I am encouraged that North Carolina will be able to open eligibility to all adults well ahead of [President Joe Biden’s] May 1 goal. We’re not there yet but in the next couple of months, we will have enough supply for everyone who wants a vaccine to get one.”

Cooper encouraged residents to talk with friends and family who are hesitant to get vaccinated to try to convince them once the vaccine is available to all. 

“That vaccine is our path to recovery,” he said. “It is the road to normalcy. This pandemic is not over yet. We need to keep up our guard, wear our masks, and act responsibly. That will save lives and continue to spark the economy.”

N.C. DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen announced a new initiative to continue to get vaccine doses to historically marginalized populations and vulnerable communities. North Carolina, she said, has been recognized nationally for its efforts to distribute the vaccine equitably and the department intends to continue that work. 

Healthier Together, a public private partnership, will expand vaccination efforts across the state through grants provided to community based organizations. In partnership with NC Counts Coalition, these groups will conduct education and outreach efforts around the vaccine, coordinate local vaccine events at accessible locations, help people schedule and get to vaccine appointments, provide on-site translation services, and help to ensure people get to their second dose appointments. 

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