NC ‘on track’ to meet Biden’s deadline of all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, officials say


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Friday the state is “on track” to meet President Joe Biden’s request that states make every adult eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines by May 1.

While that doesn’t mean all people will be able to get vaccinated by then, they would be able to register for a spot in line, Biden noted during a primetime address Thursday night.

“Our vaccine providers have stepped up the plate and continue to exhaust our vaccine supply each week. We are looking forward to increased supply of COVID vaccine from the federal government so North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and meet our goals to provide equitable access to vaccinations in every community in the state,” wrote DHHS spokesperson Catie Armstrong in an email.

Biden said the nation will have enough doses for every adult by the end of May.

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced the first part of Group 4 will become eligible to get vaccinated March 17. That includes people with high-risk medical conditions and people who are incarcerated or experiencing homelessness who have not yet been vaccinated.

The rest of Group 4, which includes essential workers who have not been vaccinated, become eligible April 7.

Group 4 includes about 4.2 million people, according to NCDHHS.

Group 5 is the rest of the population, which is about 3.5 million people. Some counties are moving through the groups faster than others.

Orange County spokesman Todd McGee said the county has about 20,000 people on the waiting list who are currently eligible.

“If the vaccine supply increases, if we get more people that are able to administer shots, then I suppose it’s conceivable that by May 1 or thereabouts, we could be able to start rolling into everybody,” McGee said.

Wake County is experiencing a temporary decline in the weekly allocation of doses as officials await more shipments of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, which state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says are not expected until early April.

During the week of March 1, Wake County Human Services received 17,490 doses compared to 10,720 doses this week, according to Ryan Jury, mass vaccination branch director for Wake County.

The county is still moving forward with vaccinations for people in Group 4 next week, said county spokesperson Stacy Beard.

She said the current wait time to get an appointment is one day for people in Groups 1 and 2. For people in Group 3, it’s about six days.

The Biden administration is planning to double the number of pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program, which would then include more than 20,000 pharmacies.

Officials also plan to double the number of federally run mass vaccination sites. There’s currently a site set up in Greensboro. It’s unclear if there will be additional sites in North Carolina.

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