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Mecklenburg County is opening up COVID-19 vaccine appointments for March 10 through March 31, the county said Tuesday.
That means frontline essential workers in Group 3 are eligible to sign up for those appointments for the first time in Mecklenburg, according to county leaders.
That includes university and college staff, law enforcement and firefighters, public safety and transportation workers and restaurant workers. Anyone eligible for vaccines — including those people in Group 3 — can begin booking those appointments starting Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
In mid-February, NC Gov. Roy Cooper had announced the state would expand vaccine eligibility to a small group of people in Group 3: child care workers and PreK-12 teachers and school staff. The rest of Group 3 would be eligible starting March 10, he said at the time.
But on Tuesday afternoon, Cooper changed that date, saying all of Group 3 is now eligible for vaccine appointments starting Wednesday. Still, Mecklenburg’s new appointments are scheduled to open starting March 10.
Cooper also said that North Carolina will move to Group 4 on March 24, beginning with people with high-risk medical conditions, people experiencing homelessness and incarcerated people who have not been vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, North Carolina has reported 863,409 cases and 11,288 deaths.
How to book appointments
Anyone can book an appointment online at https://starmed.care/ or by calling the county COVID-19 hotline at 980-314-9400 (Option 3 for English and Option 8 for Spanish).
If no appointments are available, people can sign up for the county’s waitlist at MeckNC.gov/COVID-19.
The county is expanding its partnership with StarMed Healthcare. The company will now provide first doses of the vaccines at the county’s clinic at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
Johnson & Johnson vaccines available
Mecklenburg County Public Health is receiving 11,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week, county health director Gibbie Harris said Tuesday. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is the latest COVID-19 vaccine to receive an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Those vaccines will be used over the next week and a half, Harris said. The vaccines were requested as a joint effort between the county and both hospital systems Atrium Health and Novant Health, she said.
The county will share Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses with Atrium and Novant for distribution.
The new COVID-19 vaccine, unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, only requires one injection.
“The one-shot vaccine is great news for us,” Harris said. “Now we have three vaccines that we can depend on.”
The state Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday it expects more than 80,000 doses of the newly authorized vaccine to arrive in North Carolina beginning on Wednesday.