Each county will distribute vaccines to school and childcare workers differently, and vaccinations are expected to begin Wednesday. Beginning Monday, people who want to register for a vaccine in Wake County can visit wakegov.com/vaccine to fill out an online request form or call the 24/7 vaccine hotline at 919-250-1515.
People will have to answer “yes” to one of the following questions to register:
- Are you 65 years old or older?
- Are you a healthcare worker?
- Do you work in Child Care or a Pre-K to Grade 12 school?
- Do you have to be in-person at your place of work?
Once enough vaccines becomes available, people on the waitlist will be contacted via email, phone or text. They can then make an appointment online or over the phone to get their vaccine. Second dose appointments will be scheduled at the first appointment.
North Carolina has been vaccinating seniors 65 and older and long-term care residents and staff for months.
Earlier in February, Gov. Roy Cooper said that all K-12 school personnel and anyone who works in child care will be eligible for vaccinations beginning Feb. 24. All other frontline “essential” workers, such as police officers, firefighters and grocery workers, will have to wait until March 10 to start getting vaccinated.
Subdividing Group 3 in the state’s vaccination priority list is necessary, the governor said, to balance the limited supply of vaccine with the large number of frontline workers in the state.
North Carolina receives only 150,000 doses of vaccine each week from the federal government, and the state has about 240,000 public school personnel.
Previously, state officials said they had no plans to break Group 3 into smaller units and prioritize some professions over others. But Cooper said putting teachers at the front of Group 3 was simply pragmatic.
“There has been concern about all of these essential frontline workers in a big group, in Group 3, all of a sudden crashing into the system, that that would be problematic,” he said. “Starting with a smaller number of Group 3 frontline essential workers helps providers streamline vaccine distribution.”
Group 3 could be further subdivided in the coming weeks, depending on the flow of vaccine into the state, the governor said.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said providers might go to schools or workplace to administer shots, or they could designate a specific day of the week when only educators or other frontline workers could receive vaccinations. The state’s vaccination tracking system will soon allow employers to upload employee information to pre-register them, she said.
Cohen warned, however, that the Feb. 24 and March 10 eligibility dates don’t necessarily mean that people will start getting shots then. Some counties have lengthy waiting lists of people in Group 1 or Group 2 still waiting for their shots – Wake County’s list has more than 80,000 people, for example – so teachers and other frontline workers will have to wait their turn, she said.
Wake County Public Health has been vaccinating approximately 2,000 people a day by appointment-only at its three mass vaccination sites — PNC Arena, the Wake County Public Health Center and the Wake County Commons Building. Vaccines are also available at Duke Health, UNC REX and WakeMed Health and Hospitals along with some local pharmacies.
WRAL Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and WRAL anchor/reporter Adam Owens contributed ot this report.