Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines in the Triangle

Simone Jasper
·3 min read

North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine plan is well underway, with more than 2.6 million doses administered as of early March.

But there’s a still a long way to go to inoculate the roughly 8 million adults living in the state.

Here, we have compiled helpful information about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the Raleigh and Durham areas, from figuring out when you are eligible to scheduling an appointment and knowing what to expect.

When am I eligible to receive the vaccine?

North Carolina is currently allowing residents in Group 3 to be vaccinated. That includes front-line essential workers such as educators, first-responders and grocery store employees.

The state is scheduled to open up eligibility to Group 4 on March 24, which is earlier than originally planned. The final group, 5, will follow.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has an online tool that allows residents to plug in pertinent information to determine what group they are in. Find the tool here.

How do I schedule a vaccine appointment?

There are several ways.

For starters, you might want to check with your regular family doctor. But there are other options if you don’t have a regular doctor, or if your doctor is not administering the vaccine.

Other vaccine doses have gone to pharmacies as part of a federal program, so you could check with your local pharmacy.

The state health department’s online tool also allows users to search for vaccine sites in their areas. Here’s the link.

Wake County health department: Fill out an online request form here or call 919-250-1515. People who make requests will be contacted when open spots are available.

Durham County health department: Appointments are currently not being scheduled for the public due to limited supply. But anyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine but hasn’t made an appointment can join the online waitlist here.

Orange County health department: You can schedule a vaccine appointment if you are eligible in Groups 1 to 3. Complete the online survey here or call 919-913-8088 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Duke Health: Fill out an online registration form here to join the waiting list.

UNC Health: Schedule an appointment here. But note that as of Thursday the health system said its vaccine appointments were full.

Walgreens: Check for available appointments here.

CVS: Fill out an online questionnaire here.

How do the vaccines compare?

Three drug makers’ COVID-19 vaccines have gotten emergency use authorization from the federal government: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are already being administered in the Triangle, and the state is starting to receive doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one shot.

You likely won’t be able to choose which vaccine you receive. Health experts have urged people to take the first option that’s available to them.

Here’s how the vaccines compare.

Will I experience side effects?

It’s common to experience side effects from the vaccines, and they’re often worse after the second shot. Here’s why.