CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina's COVID-19 vaccine rollout took another step Wednesday, as the state moved into Group 4 vaccinations.
Group 4 includes all adults with an underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable to a serious illness from COVID-19. These health conditions include asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart failure and obesity. Smokers are also included in with Group 4. Vaccine appointments are also open to those experiencing homelessness across the state.
Group 4 is also includes essential front-line workers who weren't part of Group 3, such as retail and utility workers, but they'll have to wait until April 7 to book their appointment.
There are two ways to schedule your appointment. First, eligible patients can call the Mecklenburg County COVID-19 hot line at 980-314-9400 (Option 3 for English, Option 8 for Spanish). The other option is by visiting this website.
Mecklenburg County opened vaccine appointments for Group 4 at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, but slots quickly filled up with the health department. The county suggests any eligible patient who was unable to secure an appointment should check with other providers, such as Atrium Health, Novant Health, and StarMed. Eligible patients can also join the Mecklenbug County waiting list and they'll be notified once more appointments are available.
The following health conditions have been identified by the CDC as increasing risk for severe illness from COVID-19. All people with any of these conditions is eligible for the vaccine in Group 4:
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Dementia or other neurologic condition
- Diabetes type 1 or 2
- Down Syndrome
- 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
- Liver disease, including hepatitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Overweight or obesity
- 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)
Patients can also schedule appointments through private pharmacies, such as Harris Teeter and Walgreens, if they're unable to book one through the health department.
Health officials stressed patients can't choose which vaccine they will receive but say all three -- Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson -- are effective against COVID-19.
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.