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NC Vaccine Group 3 Update

Vaccine vial

On Wednesday, February 10, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced an estimated timeline for coronavirus vaccinations for Group 3. Beginning on February 24 anyone working in childcare or in PreK-12 schools will be eligible. On March 10 other frontline essential workers included in Group 3 will become eligible. 

Group 3 Details

Included in Group 3 “Frontline Essential Workers” (approximately 583,000 people total): 

  • Healthcare and public health; Law Enforcement
  • Public Safety, and Other First Responders
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Community or Government-based Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Commercial Facilities for Essential Goods
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Education

To be classified as a Group 3 “frontline essential worker”, a worker must meet a two-part test:  

  1. They are required to report to a workplace (cannot do their job remotely) and will be within six feet of other workers or customers, and  
  2. They are included in the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) category of workers as working in an essential worker.  

Within Group 3 who qualifies as “Commercial Facilities for Essential Goods?”  

Based on guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and ACIP, this category is limited to workers in stores that sell groceries and medicine. This includes grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, dollar stores, super centers, membership clubs as well as retail businesses selling beverages.  

Within Group 3 who qualifies as “Food and Agriculture”?  

Based on CISA and ACIP, this category would include restaurant workers, food and beverage supply chain and distribution workers. This includes those working at distribution centers for food and medicine. CISA also lists individuals that work in greenhouses as well as the growth and distribution of plants and associated products for home gardens. 

If you are unsure which group you or your associates fall into, use the NC DHHS “Find My Group” Tool. 

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released additional guidance for employers of frontline essential workers on how to prepare employees for their coronavirus vaccinations.  

North Carolina’s current coronavirus vaccination prioritization plan: 

Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff and residents (547,000 people)
This group includes: 

  • 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 (1.2 million people)
This group includes: 

  • Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation. 

Group 3: Frontline essential workers (583,000 people)
This group includes: 

  • 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 (4.2 million people)
This group includes: 

  • Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase 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 (defined by the CDC 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 safe and effective coronavirus vaccinations (4.5 million people) 

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