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Vaccine eligibility

North Carolina will open up vaccines to all ages 16 and up on April 7

POLK COUNTY—North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that all adults ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on April 7. 

People in groups 1-4 are currently eligible for the vaccine in North Carolina and the remaining group 4 people, including non-frontline essential workers and people such as living in student dormitories will be eligible beginning on March 31. 

Cooper said the acceleration of the groups is possible, as nearly 1/3 of adults in North Carolina have been at least partially vaccinated. 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said Thursday that Group 4 essential workers include people in retail, banking, hospitality and infrastructure. 

Moderna is only authorized for people age 18 and older. Johnson & Johnson, the one-shot vaccine, is also only authorized for people age 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for people aged 16 and 17. 

The state also announced a new partnership with the N.C. Counts Coalition called Healthier Together, which is aimed at increasing access of vaccines to marginalized populations throughout the state. Healthier Together will use education efforts, scheduling assistance and translation services to get the vaccines to more populations. 

President Joe Biden announced this week that the nation had administered 100 million vaccinations as of last week. He said his new goal was to have 200 million vaccinations administered in his first 100 days in office, which is double his original goal. 

Biden also said he is directing all states to make all adults eligible for vaccines starting on May 1. 

South Carolina is still doing vaccinations for people in phase 1b, which includes people age 55 and older, front-line essential workers and people with one or more high-risk medical conditions. Plans are for South Carolina to include people age 45 and older in mid-April. 

Polk County has been doing mass vaccinations at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. To get on the list, people can fill out a survey, located on a special COVID-19 tab at polknc.org or call the county message line for assistance at 828-722-5086.