CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It is a big week for vaccination efforts in the Carolinas. On Wednesday, any adult 16 years or older in South Carolina will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. And in North Carolina, the rest of Group 4 will become eligible.
Group 4B is made up of other essential workers like those in retail and hospitality, construction, housing and real estate, financial services and public works and students living in group settings.
UNC Charlotte and Atrium Health are partnering to hold a vaccine clinic on campus for students, faculty and staff. It will be on Wednesday in the Student Activity Center. They offered 1,200 appointments and they all booked up quickly.
UNCC students have been learning online for more than a year but many say they’re still not adjusted.
“Zoom, of course, isn't ideal," Miles Shen, a junior, said. "I like being in a classroom personally. Going from a completely online semester to having 1 in-person class it's made a world of a difference."
More people have slowly returned to campus, but a lot of UNC Charlotte students are itching to get back to the way things were.
"The sooner we get back to normal the better," Yoel Kiflezghi, a junior, said. "I think having to wear masks everywhere is not the best thing and if you look around campus isn't exactly alive at the moment."
But there is a way to get back to some semblance of normalcy. John Bogdan, the associate vice chancellor for safety and security at UNCC, said it’s the COVID-19 vaccine.
"They're living with protocols that we've developed about mitigation testing and surge testing and screening all these things, the trappings of COVID we've been living with and the vaccines the way out," Bogdan told WCNC Charlotte.
The university and Atrium have already been working together to get faculty and staff who were part of Group 3 vaccinated. This clinic will focus primarily on students.
They’re giving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so students who may be leaving campus soon do not have to worry about booking a second appointment.
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.
For now, Bogdan said UNCC has plans to fully reopen in the fall.
“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,” Katie Tonucci, a senior, said.
University officials say they will not require the shot but strongly recommended it to students and staff. A survey they sent out found about 60% of those who answered are interested in getting vaccinated, which is a good sign of reopening plans.
All the appointments for Wednesday are booked, but vaccine providers are working to accommodate the growing demand across Mecklenburg County.
Atrium health opened 7,000 appointments for a mass clinic at Bank of America Stadium on April 10. They're booking up fast.
Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., the Mecklenburg County Health Department will open more appointments through April 12. StarMed helps to give those out at Bojangles Coliseum.
“We're definitely heading in the right direction it’s just waiting a little bit longer until there's enough,” StarMed’s Chief Medical Officer Arin Pirmzadian said.
Starting on April 7, they'll start posting new appointments every single Wednesday to be booked for the following week.
Anyone can book the appointments that open on Tuesday, people in group 5 just have to make them for April 7 or later.