North Carolina’s vaccine plan now different from CDC recommendations

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina first published its vaccine roll-out plan back in October when states were required to submit one. Now two weeks into vaccinations, the CDC has updated its recommendations into which groups should be vaccinated when Phase 1a is complete.

It means the state now has to reorganize a large portion of its plan.

“Older people certainly need to be prioritized because they have much more of a chance to become seriously ill and to die,” said Gov. Roy Cooper this week in response to the new recommendations.

That’s not what’s in the state’s current plan.

NC Phase 1bCDC Phase 1b Recommendations
Frontline workers with 2+ chronic conditionsPeople 75 or older
Adults (including those living in congregate settings) with 2+ chronic conditionsFrontline essential workers
Congregate living setting workers

Right now- Phase 1b calls for adults or essential workers with two or more chronic conditions to be vaccinated next. It also includes anyone working in a congregate living setting. Those working in congregate living settings are not required to have chronic conditions.

Front line workers in this phase include police (EMT and paramedics are included in Phase 1A), firefighters, grocery store employees, government workers, food processing workers, teachers, or those in child care who are also included in this phase — all of which must have at least two chronic illnesses.

NC Phase 2CDC Phase 1c Recommendation
Under 65 with 1 chronic conditionPeople ages 65-74
65+ regardless of chronic conditionsPeople 16-74 with chronic conditions
Other health care workersOther essential workers not included earlier
Workers mentioned in 1b but without chronic conditions

The CDC now recommends people 75 or older along with essential workers be included in Phase 1b.

That means the state now has to reshuffle its Phase 2.

That includes people over 65 regardless of chronic conditions, people under 65 with a chronic condition, essential workers mentioned in Phase 1b but without chronic conditions and the remainder of health care workers not directly working with COVID-19 patients.

The CDC’s next tier, however, which they call 1C, calls for vaccinations of those ages 65 to74, 16 to 74 with a chronic condition, and other workers like those working in energy, telecommunications and other utilities.

Right now, the state has those utility workers in Phase 3.

“We are going to look at want to look at folks who are at the highest risk of dying of this disease as well as looking at how we slow the spread of the virus here in North Carolina.”

North Carolina health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

Prioritizing essential workers

The state’s current plan and the new recommendation from the CDC also differ in what kinds of essential workers are included in each phase.

According to CBS News, the CDC recommends placing includes first responders, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, those who work in education, public transit workers, grocery store workers, and those who work in manufacturing, food and agriculture in Phase 1b.

It recommends placing people who work in food service, transportation and logistics, finance, energy, media, construction, IT and communications, public safety and the legal sector in Plan 1C.

North Carolina’s plan placed people in food service workers in Plan 1b if they had at least two chronic conditions rather than a tier lower like the CDC recommends.

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