The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has adopted federal guidelines pertaining to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the new state plan now makes the vaccine available to those ages 65+, the Alexander County Health Department is continuing with its plan of vaccinating health care workers and those ages 75+ until additional doses of the vaccine are received.
The health department’s schedule is booked well into the week of January 18, and second doses will begin as well; however, citizens can continue to submit their contact information to be scheduled for an appointment at www.alexandercountync.gov/covid or (828) 352-7724. Once additional doses are received, vaccinations for the ages 65+ population will begin.
The state’s new distribution plan is as follows:
North Carolina moves through vaccination groups by aligning to federal priorities while empowering local health departments and hospitals with the flexibility to move to the next priority group as they complete phases and have vaccines available.
Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff and residents
• Health care workers with in-person patient contact
• Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, and continuing care retirement communities
Group 2: Older adults
• Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation
Group 3: Frontline essential workers
• The CDC defines frontline essential workers as workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and who are at substantially higher risk for exposure to COVID-19
Group 4: Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness
• Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase the risk of severe disease from COVID-19 such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
• Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition, or job function
• Essential workers not yet vaccinated
The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, public safety (e.g., engineers), and public health workers.
Group 5: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination