Wendell, N.C. — North Carolinians who fall under Group 4, which includes people with certain underlying health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, can get their first coronavirus vaccines beginning Wednesday.
The subset of Group 4 eligible Wednesday includes those with high-risk medical conditions and homeless and incarcerated people who are not yet vaccinated.
While many counties, including Wake County, are under appointment-only systems, a first-come, first-served vaccination clinic will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Corinth Holders High School at 6875 Applewhite Road in Wendell. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be administered to eligible people ages 16 and older.
Last week, another drive-thru clinic at Johnston Community College ran out of vaccines even before the clinic opened as cars lined up hours early to make sure they could get a shot. Lines are expected to be long again on Wednesday, especially since it’s the first day people in Group 4 can get vaccinated.
People who show up for vaccines may be asked if they have any health conditions, but unlike other groups, they won’t need to prove their eligibility. Many of the health conditions, including pregnancy, obesity and being a former or current smoker will be difficult to prove, so the clinics are running on an honor system.
According to BMI calculators, a person who is 5’5 and 150 pounds would be considered overweight. Someone who is 5’10 and 175 pounds would also be considered overweight and qualify for a vaccine. If you’re unsure about whether or not you qualify for a vaccine based on your weight, take a look at a BMI calculator to see if you fall into the overweight or obese category.
Smokers are also included in Group 4. The term ‘smoker’ is defined as having smoked 100 cigarettes in your lifetime.
Last week, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said she expects vaccines will open to Group 5, all adults who haven’t already been vaccinated, by May.
WRAL has compiled a list of phone numbers and websites to register for a vaccine in your county, although you are not required to get a vaccine in your county of residence. Some of the most recent updates include:
Wake County: An online vaccination registration system is open to those in Groups 1-4. After registering, people will be sent an email when an appointment is available to them. Since the county is still working to get Groups 1-3 registered, people in Group 4 may not get an email until later this week, the county said.
Robeson County is vaccinating those in all eligible groups with appointments and walk-ins. To pre-schedule an appointment call 910-671-3216, 910-671-3220, or 910-671-3255 or send a message including your name, phone number, date of birth, and what qualifies you for the vaccine to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Durham County started scheduling appointments for those in Group 4 on Thursday and will start vaccinating them on Wednesday, according to a news release.
In Chatham County, more than 1,000 people in Group 4 have already registered for their vaccine appointments.
Cumberland County is taking registrations for a drive-thru clinic for first dose COVID-19 vaccinations to be administered at the Crown Complex. To make an appointment, go to co.cumberland.nc.us/covid19vaccine or call 910-678-7657.
In Sampson County, events for Groups 1-4 are scheduled on March 17, 26 and 31 at Sampson County Agri Expo Center, and a first-dose-only clinic on March 24 at Charles E. Perry School.
Wayne County will begin vaccinating those in Group 4 with pre-existing health conditions on Wednesday. The rest of Group 4 –any unvaccinated essential workers – becomes eligible April 7. Appointments can be scheduled online ahead of time.
Lee County put vaccine registration on hold Friday after a surge of interest from Group 4. “We will likely re-open registrations by phone and online sometime Monday afternoon,” a spokesman said. Once registration reopens, individuals may call 919-842-5744 Monday – Friday from 8 until 4:30 p.m. or complete a pre-registration form online found at leecountync.gov/covid19.
Orange County told WRAL News that they have more than 20,000 names on a waiting list, and as Group 4 people register Wednesday, they will be added.