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Department of Health News

Vaccine Eligibility Timeline

Group 4a: Age 16-64 with Higher Risk Medical Conditions and Additional Congregate Settings 

North Carolina opened up Group 4a on March 17, which includes anyone 16-64 years old with one or more high-risk medical condition for severe illness from COVID-19 and people living in a close group living setting. This includes people experiencing homelessness and incarcerated people who have not yet been vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.

The following conditions have been outlined by the CDC as the high-risk for severe COVID-19 illness: 

  • Asthma  
  • Cancer 
  • Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke 
  • Chronic kidney disease 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)  
  • Cystic fibrosis  
  • Diabetes type 1 or 2  
  • Heart conditions  
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure 
  • Immunocompromised state  
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 
  • Liver disease  
  • Neurologic conditions 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis  
  • Overweight or obesity 
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia 
  • Smoking  

Group 4b: Essential Workers Not Yet Vaccinated 

On March 31, North Carolina will open up Group 4b, which includes essential workers that have not yet been vaccinated. 

In order to qualify as an essential worker in Group 4b, you must work in one of the following sectors:  

  • Chemical 
  • Commercial facilities 
  • Communications and information technology 
  • Defense industrial base 
  • Energy 
  • Financial services 
  • Hazardous materials  
  • Hygiene products and services  
  • Public works and infrastructure support services 
  • Residential facilities, housing and real estate 
  • Water and wastewater  

Learn more about the specifics of who qualifies as a part of this group in the Group 4 Deep Dive.  

If you would like to receive a vaccine, visit to find a vaccine provider in North Carolina near you. If you are unsure about which vaccination group you belong to, check out and answer the short questionnaire to find out. 

Group 5: All Adults Age 16+ 

All adults, ages 16 and older, will be eligible to receive the vaccine on April 7 with the opening of Group 5.