How some outside of the current Phase are being vaccinated against COVID-19 in NC

Coronavirus

(AP Photo/John Locher)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Some people younger than 65 who aren’t health care workers are already receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina.

Hundreds of teachers received the vaccine this week across the state.

That included ones younger than 65, like Davie County High School teacher Michelle Shue.

“There’s a sense of security now and just that we were able to take a step to protect ourselves,” said Shue.

They signed up before the guidelines changed, and Davie County honored their appointments.

Some eastern North Carolina communities have also allowed teachers to sign up.

“I think for those of us who are just ordinary folks in the community trying to understand, ‘Is it my turn?’ a lot of changes have happened over the past month,” said Tatyana Kelly, vice president of planning/strategy and member services for the North Carolina Healthcare Association.

Right now, only health care workers and those 65 and up are eligible for the vaccine.

More than 80 percent of the COVID-19 related deaths in North Carolina involve people 65 years and older.

Teachers are in the next group, which includes essential workers.

It is not clear when they will be eligible.

“We have educators who are hopeful and are looking forward to getting their vaccine, we also have educators who are frustrated because it’s taking a long time,” said Tamika Walker Kelly, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

State leaders said they don’t want counties to move on until recommended, but they know some may be ready to do so sooner than others.

“We recognize on the ground realities. We need to be open and flexible, so we encourage folks who are feeling like they are moving on to the next group to please have a conversation with our team, so we understand what their plan is,” said Sec. Mandy Cohen with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Moving forward, the state said it is going to distribute vaccines more proportionally.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association hopes to see clear definitions of who is eligible and workflow improvements from the state.

“That next phase is going to open up to a much larger group of people that exist in the phases we’re in now,” said Kelly.

Health officials are working through the details of what, if any, paperwork will be required from employers to prove it’s someone’s turn for the vaccine.

“Patience is going to be key on everyone’s part,” said Kelly.

On Wednesday, state leaders said they would provide more guidance by Thursday.

CBS 17 reached out to surrounding vaccine providers and school districts, they said they haven’t received any yet.

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