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More people eligible for COVID vaccine in North Carolina

More essential workers are able to get the shot, along with educators and students

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Across the area, COVID-19 vaccination clinics have been held. From Union and Burke counties to Rowan and Lincoln counties, people have lined up to get their COVID-19 shot. Now, more people are eligible to get vaccinated thanks to an order by Gov. Roy Cooper that opened up access for more people in Group 4, with Group 5 to open up in just a few days.

The main question for most people: who can now get vaccinated under the remaining guidelines for Group 4? As previously reported, these individuals were originally slated to be eligible for their shots on April 7, but that timeline was accelerated by Cooper; all individuals under Group 4 that didn't have a chronic or severe illness are eligible as of Wednesday, March 31, while Group 5 opens up April 7 instead, meaning everyone in North Carolina will be eligible then.

Here's who can now get the shot under Group 4 who previously did not qualify:

  • Those working in the essential sectors identified in Group 3 who did not meet the criteria for frontline workers. Essential sectors identified in Group 3 include critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety, and transportation. See Deeper Dive Group 3.
  • Those working in additional essential sectors as defined below:
    • Chemical (including workers in petrochemical plants, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceutical facilities, consumer products)
    • Commercial facilities (including retail workers, hotel workers)
    • Communications and information technology (service repair dispatchers, data center operators)
    • Defense industrial base (including workers supporting essential services to meet national security commitments)
    • Energy (including electric, petroleum, natural and propane gas workers)
    • Financial services (including workers who maintain systems for processing financial transactions, workers needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services)
    • Hazardous materials (including nuclear facilities workers, workers managing medical waste)
    • Hygiene products and services (including laundromats, sanitation workers)
    • Public works and infrastructure support services (including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, workers supporting parks)
    • Residential facilities, housing and real estate
    • Water and wastewater (including staff at water authorities, wastewater treatment facilities, water sampling and monitoring)

Check out the WCNC Charlotte COVID-19 Vaccine page for more resources and news you can use

 Additionally, educators and students are also now eligible to get their shots. On Thursday, Davidson College will hold a clinic for its students, while UNC Charlotte held their own clinic for students, faculty, and staff on Wednesday.

We spoke with John Bogdan, the associate vice chair for safety and security at UNC Charlotte. He tells us getting students vaccinated is a key part of the school's plan to get back to a sense of normalcy in the fall.

"They're living with protocols that we've developed about mitigation testing and surge testing and screening," he said, "and the vaccine's the way out."

Atrium Health partnered with UNC Charlotte for this clinic at the Student Activity Center. While we were there, we spoke with Katie Tonucci, a senior who thinks the vaccine should not only be a priority but something every student should have.

"I hope they make it a requirement for all students to get vaccinated so the students going back in person will feel safer going back in person," she said.

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan.