RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – People 65 and older in North Carolina will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday.

The govenror said the state would be opening the criteria for people 65 and older during the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Legislative Goals Conference.

Thursday’s announcement means vaccine providers who are ready can start vaccinating adults 65 and older, along with healthcare workers helping COVID-19 patients and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.  

During the conference, Cooper asked local leaders to encourage health departments to use all vaccines that are allotted to them.

Cooper also called on local leaders to help enforce the mask mandate.

Vaccine supplies is still limited and states are required to make the vaccine available in phases, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.

DDHS said the state is aligning its vaccination phases to federal priorities while “giving local health departments and hospitals the flexibility to move to the next priority group as they complete the previous one and have vaccines available.”

North Carolina entered Phase 1B last week, which opened the criteria to those 75 and older.

According to the CDC, North Carolina has distributed 852,000 vaccines and 266,938 people have received the first dose of the vaccine.

To find out when and where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine, click here.