Gov. Cooper: Teachers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in late February

NORTH CAROLINA, NC (WWAY/WTVD) — Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will soon move into the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Beginning on Feb. 24, the state will expand the eligibility to Group 3, starting with educators and school personnel, and then expand to other Group 3 personnel on March 10.

Those working in child care or in PreK – 12 schools, such as teachers, bus and van drivers, custodial and maintenance staff, and food service workers, will be eligible first. This includes staff in child care centers and homes, Head Start Programs, Preschool and PreK programs, traditional public schools, charter schools, and private schools. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail.)

This group encompasses about 240,000 people, the governor said.

“I am grateful to all of our educators and school personnel for going above and beyond in this pandemic to care for children and help them continue to learn,” said Governor Cooper. “Starting with a smaller number of Group 3 frontline essential workers helps providers streamline vaccine distribution effectively and efficiently.”

Because vaccine supply continues to be limited and the group 3 numbers are so large, the vaccination plan will move forward in phases, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said.

States must vaccinate people in groups due to limited supply. North Carolina is currently vaccinating people in Groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents and people 65 and older. In the coming weeks, providers will continue to vaccinate these groups. More than 40 percent of North Carolina’s residents 65 and older have been vaccinated.

Under the timeline outlined on Wednesday, the state plans to move to additional frontline workers on March 10.

As of Wednesday, North Carolina is reporting 3,833 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 805,898.

There have been 10,181 deaths in North Carolina due to the virus. That is up 135 from Tuesday.

With 96 percent of hospitals reporting, 2,291 are hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout North Carolina. That is down 83 from Tuesday.

461 ICU beds and 5,036 inpatient hospital beds are currently empty, NCDHHS said.

The state is reporting a 7.9% positive test rate. That is down from Tuesday’s 9.3%.

Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourShotYourSpot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).

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