RALEIGH — At a virtual COVID-19 briefing today, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that more North Carolinians will soon be able to get a vaccination.
“Today I am announcing that we will move to the rest of Group 4 on March 31,” said Cooper. “This includes essential workers in commercial services such as hospitality and retail, chemical and pharmaceutical facilities, construction, housing and real estate and other essential sectors.”
“Then the biggest change will happen on April 7th when we will open eligibility to Group 5, and that means all adults will then be eligible for the vaccine,” Cooper said.
Per N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Group 4 includes 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.” Group 5 covers anyone 16 and older in the state wishing to receive the vaccine.
According to Cooper, almost 4.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in North Carolina to date and around one in five adult citizens are fully vaccinated. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen reiterated that a third of adults overall in the state has had at least one dose of vaccine and that “more than 55 percent” of all adults in the state are now fully vaccinated.
The governor was asked what specific metrics he was looking at to lift the restrictions that are still in place in the state, such as masks and social distancing. The state has remained under a mandatory statewide mask mandate since June 24, 2020. Cooper was also asked why people who have been vaccinated are still having to follow his executive orders restrictions.
Neither Cooper nor Cohen answered the questions. Cooper responded by saying that “a lot of that information is going to have to come from health professionals” along with research done on those who have been vaccinated. He then handed the question off to Cohen who said they look at a “combination of metrics” but would not say what the state’s target numbers are.
The governor received his vaccination on March 3 but has not indicated when he will resume in-person press briefings. The last live briefing with the North Carolina media outlets and reporters in attendance was some 370 days ago on March 20, 202o.
More information on vaccinations and where to get one can be found on the NCDHHS website.