Law enforcement, first responders, and other frontline employees eligible to get vaccinated in NC Wednesday

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — All essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina will now be able to receive a vaccination starting Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

The governor has now opened vaccinations to all of those under Group 3, which include workers in critical manufacturing, grocery store employees, farmworkers, college and university support staff, restaurant employees, firefighters and EMS, and law enforcement, among others.

North Carolina divided Group 3 into two phases, beginning with childcare workers and educators on Feb. 24.

Who is all included in Group 3?

Cooper had said that all other frontline essential workers would become eligible on March 10.

Now, the governor has greenlighted providers to give all frontline essential workers the vaccine beginning on March 3.

“The state and our providers continue to work extremely hard to get people vaccinated in a way that’s fast and fair,” said Gov. Cooper. “The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly. Our essential frontline workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as the federal government has also increased vaccine in North Carolina beyond the state’s allocation.

A new federally-supported site will open in Greensboro next week, and Walgreens is providing vaccine through the federal pharmacy program.

While there is still not enough vaccine for everyone, the improved supply has contributed to providers reporting readiness to expand access to additional Group 3 essential workers.

Under the timeline outlined today, providers may move to vaccinate these individuals on March 3. Sec. Cohen also unveiled a Public Service Announcement encouraging vaccine use among Group 3 essential workers.

State officials continue to encourage providers to exhaust each week’s vaccine shipment before the following week’s shipment arrives. Some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to frontline essential workers on March 3 if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1, 2, and 3.

“This is a really exciting moment,” said Secretary Cohen. “A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and keep people out of the hospital and prevent deaths from this pandemic.” 

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