NC unveils updated priority plan for vaccinations

By on December 30, 2020

State reports a record 8,551 cases

Today’s COVID numbers released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are sobering. There were a record 8,551 new cases reported on Dec. 30. There are now 6,729 people who have succumbed to COVID, with the state reporting 156 more deaths since the previous day. And the percentage of positive tests out of all tests administered is a ballooning 14.8%.

But at the Dec. 30 press briefing, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (DHHS) Mandy Cohen focused primarily on the breakthrough that could ultimately bring the pandemic under control — vaccinations. And more specifically, they addressed the priority plan for who is slated to get vaccinated in what order.

Here is the list provided by DHHS:

Current Phase– Phase 1a: Health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents. 
  • Hospitals and local health departments are vaccinating health care workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19 and those giving vaccines. In addition, the federal government is vaccinating long-term care residents and staff.
Phase 1b: Adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers.
The next phase of vaccinations will be rolled out by various groups.
  • Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older regardless of medical condition or living situation. People do not have to have a chronic health condition.
  • Group 2: Health care and frontline essential workers who are 50 years of age or older.
  • Group 3: Frontline workers of any age and health care workers of any age, regardless of whether they work directly with COVID-19 patients. This phase is anticipated to begin in early January.

The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (firefighters, police), education (child care, teachers, support staff), manufacturing, corrections officers, public transit, grocery store, food and agriculture, and US postal workers.

Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness.
In this phase, vaccinations will also open in groups.
  • Group 1: Anyone ages 65-74 years regardless of medical condition or living situation.
  • Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years with a medical condition that increases risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
  • Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who has not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
  • Group 4: Essential workers as defined by the CDC who have not yet been vaccinated.
Phase 3: Students.
  • College, university and high school students 16 or older.
  • Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.
Phase 4:  Finally, anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one.

In response to a battery of questions from the media about potential problems and challenges with the vaccination program, Cohen acknowledged that it is a complicated task that will have to ensure that priority lists are followed and prevent people from “jumping the line” to get the shots.

“We’re less than two weeks into this,” said Cohen. “It’s not a perfect process.”



Today’s statewide NC coronavirus numbers

  • Total reported NC cases – 532,830
  • New cases reported today – 8,551
  • Reported deaths – 6,729 (156 since yesterday)
  • Currently hospitalized – 3,339 (38 less than yesterday)
  • Suspected COVID-19 cases hospitalized in past 24 hours – 283 (up 69 since yesterday)
  • Confirmed COVID-19 case hospitalized in past 24 hours – 374 (up 13 since yesterday)
  • Adults in ICU with COVID-19 – 768 (up 7 since yesterday)
  • Patients presumed to be recovered – 403,488
  • Reported cases in Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties – 2,515 (Dare 1,560, Currituck 637, Hyde 318)
  • Completed tests – 6,835,632
  • Daily percent positive tests – 14.8%
  • Received first dose of vaccine – 63,571

Note: Every morning, the NC Department of Health and Human Services posts updates the number of reported cases of coronavirus. That number reflects positive results from all tests, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all hospital and commercial labs. There may be other reports, from the media and elsewhere, that will include different numbers during a given day, but this is an effective way of tracking numbers from the same source on a day-to-day basis.


Link to COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard


  • anne

    Incarcerated in phase 2 of vaccinations but I have to wait to phase 4 to get mine! WOW!!!!

    Wednesday, Dec 30 @ 7:12 pm
  • Bobby

    The original phase 1b was for adults 65 and above. The science states this is the group that dies from the virus. The N.C. Governor has thrown the 65 to 75 age group under the bus to let all school employees to get in line. Even though a very low risk they give a lot of money to politicians and always vote for Democrats.

    Wednesday, Dec 30 @ 8:16 pm
  • kit

    Don’t get your hopes up… we may never get enough total doses to vaccinate everyone! The Fed’s plan makes Hogan’s goat look like a precision instrument!

    Thursday, Dec 31 @ 10:07 am
  • Tri-Village

    Way to avoid the real issue. This states numbers for covid are out of control. But hey there’s vaccinations that most will not be able to get until this time next year if we are lucky. I sound like a broken record but go to stores, there are still people not wearing masks and are not social distancing. I said this to family and friends at the beginning of this pandemic , common sense and common courtesy will slow this virus down faster then vaccines can be produced. Most don’t practice either. Going to be real interesting to see our local numbers over the next few weeks. I find it rather disrespectful that states make people quarantine after they’ve been here but not before. I would also like to know if a person tests positive,after they have been to the Outer Banks, are our county officials informed or does it just become their home county’s statistic.

    Thursday, Dec 31 @ 4:17 pm
  • Cheryle

    Vaccinate all prison employees. Stop visitation going in prisons. Make the general public be able to get the vaccine so we aren’t “locked in”
    Prisoners are locked up because of crimes committed. This is wrong that they should be vaccinated before the working public. Needs to be rethought

    Thursday, Dec 31 @ 6:27 pm
  • Just a mom

    Happy New Year all!
    So this is going to sound heartless but if it does than so be it.
    I am with all those above disgusted with the prisoners getting a vaccine before everyone else.
    I am perplexed by the thought that a person over 70 or 75 would get a vaccine before younger productive people in a society. I understand they are at greater risk of severe complications and death from Covid-19, however I can’t begin to comprehend how even the loss of only one young person wouldn’t be more important than hundreds of elderly. If 78%of deaths are the elderly that means out of 100,000 deaths 22,000 were younger. I have lived and loved . I have reproduced and raised my children almost to adulthood. I have a need for them to do the same. Even if young people are in a low risk group they matter more than the old. This is common sense to me. The parents of young people should also be vaccinated so to continue to raise the children. Mind you the frontline workers including health professionals and all people who serve the public like grocery store personal etc should absolutely be first in line. Without them we have no care or sustainability. My parents are older. I love them dearly but it doesn’t make sense to vaccinate them first. Who is making these decisions? Yes I know the “science “… Who is making these decisions?

    Friday, Jan 1 @ 11:04 am
  • Obx

    Just a mom. Who is making these decisions? Thankfully not you..I’m guessing you think older adults are expendable..becareful with that thought process if your lucky you too will get old one day…

    Sunday, Jan 3 @ 7:08 pm
  • Just a mom

    I hope to be blessed to live to be old. I can tell you though my life is already not as important as a child or a young adult. It’s extremely selfish to think otherwise. As previously stated… all frontline workers and service personnel should be vaccinated first. Then the young. Everyone younger than me should live. All of them should have every opportunity as they are the future. Old people are not expendable but they are not the future they should have already insured the future via a well lived life. I hope for everyone who wants the vaccine to be able to receive it. I just don’t want to see any young people die. I don’t consider myself young. I hope you stay well and life a long healthy life.

    Tuesday, Jan 5 @ 7:58 am