Some members of Group 4 can receive COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 17 – a week early


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday some members of Group 4 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 17.

“Group 4 will open to people with medical conditions that put them at higher-risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Also eligible starting March 17 are people living in some congregate settings that increase risk of exposure to COVID-19,” he said.

The rest of Group 4 will be eligible April 7.

Group 4 is anyone 16-64 years old with one or more high-risk medical conditions for severe disease from COVID-19, people living in close group settings and essential workers.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said a “close group living setting” is described as homelessness or living in a homeless shelter, or correctional facility, such as jail or prison.

Cooper said no written proof of a medical condition is needed to receive a dose as part of Group 4.

The governor said NCDHHS surveyed providers about how they are handling the demand from Groups 1-3 and whether they have capacity to move forward.

That survey allowed Cooper to move parts of Group 4 up a week.

“The move to Group 4 is good news. It’s possible because of the tireless work of our state health officials, vaccine providers, federal partners, our North Carolina National Guard and Emergency Management and many others. I want you to know your work is making all the difference,” Cooper said.

On Thursday, the state reported more than 3 million doses have been administered, either through the state providers or through the federal program for long-term care facilities.

In North Carolina, up to 18.1 percent of the state at least partially vaccinated, and 11.2 percent fully vaccinated.

Read more: What health conditions make me eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in group 4?

But what health conditions qualify someone for the group 4 vaccinations?

The NCDHHS released the following list of high-risk health conditions so you can know if you’re eligible for the vaccine.

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke 
  • Chronic kidney disease 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dementia or other neurologic condition 
  • Diabetes type 1 or 2 
  • Down Syndrome 
  • A heart condition such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure 
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from: immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant
  • Liver disease, including hepatitis 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Overweight or obesity  
  • Pregnancy 
  • Sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia 
  • Smoking (current or former, defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime)

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