Guilford County just opened its vaccination eligibility to anyone over 16.

However, the state is running a little behind the county.  NC Governor Roy Cooper and NC Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced on Thursday, March 25, that the state will open up vaccine eligibility to all adults in North Carolina beginning on Wednesday, April 7.

That means that, soon, no one will have to worry about figuring out what group or subgroup they’re in before seeking the much-touted protection from the virus.  Vaccine doses have been in short supply in the past; however, lately, it’s been a whole lot easier to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Beginning on Wednesday, March 31, new groups of essential workers and people living in congregate settings such as student dormitories across the state were eligible for vaccinations.  That will be the last demarcation line between the eligible and the ineligible adults in the state until April 7 rolls around.

The governor said that he was grateful North Carolina will be able to open vaccine eligibility to all adults well ahead of the May 1 deadline established by President Joe Biden.

Also, last week, the state announced a vaccination program meant to “reach underserved and historically marginalized populations.” A new public/private partnership – Healthier Together: Health Equity Action Network – will enhance the state’s efforts to provide equitable access to vaccines.  The new public/private partnership with the NC Counts Coalition will work to increase the number of people from historically marginalized populations who receive COVID-19 vaccinations and provide a foundation for a “longer-term framework for health equity.”

Healthier Together will conduct outreach and education programs, coordinate local vaccine events at “trusted and accessible locations” – and help people schedule appointments.  The program will also provide on-site translation services and will work to make sure that people get to their second dose appointments.

As part of the effort, Healthier Together will provide grants to community-based organizations to do this work, and the group will hire regional health equity teams to support community-based organizations in outreach and education efforts, help match vaccine providers with community-based organizations and work with state health officials to ensure that communities have the vaccine supply, outreach, and transportation resources they need. The program is funded by federal COVID-19 money.