As COVID-19 vaccinations pick up speed across the U.S., North Carolina is expanding distribution ahead of schedule by opening vaccinations to the second part of Group 4 on March 31. And on April 7, anyone 16 and older who wants the vaccine will be eligible to receive it.

All Novant Health vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ins – as supply allows. We do encourage people to make an appointment, but if someone has an unexpected free hour at work or finds themselves in the area, we invite them to pop-in and get their vaccine. Click here for a list of locations.

Specifically, the latest expansion to the second part of Group 4 covers: 

  • People who work in the essential sectors identified in Group 3 who didn’t meet the criteria of “front line.” (For example, because they are not working in person.) These are workers in critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety, and transportation.
  • People who work in the remaining essential sectors outlined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
  • People in group living settings. This includes college students who live in college dorms. 

The first part of Group 4 was everyone 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, people who are homeless and those living in jail or prison.

Here are key points you need to know about the next expansion of Group 4, currently scheduled for March 31.

Preregister for your vaccine now

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How soon will I get my shot?

Please be patient — this group is large. Far more people fall into Group 4 than there are vaccines available to administer. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services determines how vaccines are distributed. And demand for the shots far exceeds availability. Novant Health teams will continue to work around-the-clock to activate wait lists, add appointments and begin vaccinating our high-risk adult populations.

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Novant Health is working around the clock to vaccinate patients at events both large and small.

Who is eligible for the first part of Group 4 that opened earlier in March?

The first part is anyone at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Those risk factors include:

•Asthma (moderate to severe)

•Cancer (read more below)

•Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke

•Chronic kidney disease

•Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

•Cystic fibrosis

•Diabetes Type 1 or 2

•A heart condition such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy

•Hypertension or high blood pressure  

•Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant

•Intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome

•Liver disease, including hepatitis

•Neurologic conditions, such as dementia and schizophrenia

•Pulmonary fibrosis

•Overweight or obesity

•Pregnancy

•Sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia

•Smoking (current or former, defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime)

Also included in Group 4 are people who are homeless or in jail or prison.

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Do you have to prove your medical condition?

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has said the state is not requiring written proof of medical conditions to qualify for vaccine appointments. It’s Novant Health’s hope, and expectation, that community members only register when they are eligible, and that when they register, they provide truthful and accurate self-identification. While it’s our intention to comply with the state, we are also working to ensure that we do not inadvertently deny access to those who are eligible, and depending on us, to get vaccinated.

How do I get in line for the vaccine?

The single best thing you can do is preregister for the COVID-19 vaccine. As more vaccines become available, Novant Health will notify you via MyChart that you are eligible to schedule an appointment. Patients who do not have MyChart are encouraged to sign up here. You do not have to be a Novant Health patient to sign up for MyChart.

Can people 16 and 17 get any vaccine?

At the time, only the Pfizer vaccine is available to that age group.

Can cancer patients receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

In most cases, yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several leading cancer-related organizations say it’s safe for cancer patients to get vaccinated. Because they are at greater risk for COVID due to immunologic deficiencies, it’s also a priority for them to receive the vaccine. In some cases, patients undergoing active treatment may want to wait. They should consultant their doctors.