Governor Cooper Announces Accelerated Vaccine Timeline For North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that Groups 4 and 5 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by March 31st at the latest and all adults will be eligible for the vaccine starting April 7th in North Carolina.

North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen joined Governor Cooper on March 25th in making the announcement for an accelerated vaccine timeline.

“I’m grateful for North Carolinians who are taking this seriously and getting the shot when it’s their time and I’m encouraged that North Carolina will be able to open eligibility to all adults well ahead of the President’s May 1 goal,” says Governor Cooper.

Starting March 31st, health officials say additional essential workers and those living in congregate settings, such as students living in dorms, will be eligible for vaccination, and all other adults can get vaccinated starting April 7th in the state.

Officials say the accelerated timeline will allow North Carolina to double down on its fast and fair approach to getting the vaccine out, as the state partners with Healthier Together to increase the number of individuals from marginalized populations receiving the vaccine.

“Our work will support the state’s ongoing priority to maximize the speed and efficiency of North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution while adhering to its commitment to equity,” says Stacey Carless, Executive Director of the NC Counts Coalition. “Through Healthier Together, we will begin working with the state to address and dismantle systemic and structural barriers to healthier equity.”

Healthier Together officials say they will provide grants to community-based organizations to do this work, hire regional health equity teams to support these organizations in their outreach and education efforts, help match vaccine providers with community-based organizations, and will work with the DHHS to ensure communities have the vaccine supply, outreach, and transportation services needed to get vaccinated.

“Healthier Together is another embodiment of our commitment to equity,” says Secretary Cohen. “It brings together the expertise and relationships of trusted community-based organizations with the policy tools and resources of state government to create a new partnership model to address vaccine equity.”