Some States Launch Vaccinations Pilot Project For Private Medical Practices

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If you’ve ever consumed 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, you too can get vaccinated, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. As part of Group 4, if you are a smoker (current or former), you’ll be able to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning on March 24.

The group is also composed of anyone 16-64 years old who’re high risk or increased risk of severe illness. Among those will be people with higher-risk medical conditions, including intellectual and developmental disabilities such as dementia. People experiencing homelessness, and those incarcerated who have not been vaccinated are also included in Group 4.

This week, the FDA authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s single shot vaccine, and more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in North Carolina beginning today.

“A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner, which will save lives and slow the spread,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen.

This comes a day after President Biden announced there will be enough supply for the entire adult population in the US to be vaccinated by the end of May.

Johnson & Johnson announced they will partner with Merck to expand the production of vaccines. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says J&J will now deliver “at or near” 100 million doses by the end of May, compared to the previous case, which was 100 million doses by the end of June.

The President also announced that he is directing states to prioritize teachers, school staff and child care workers to receive at least one vaccine dose by the end of March.

“Let’s treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is,” Biden said.

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper says he will continue to advocate to increase vaccine supply in the state. Since January 20, the amount of  vaccines received by the state has increased by 135 percent, according to data from NCDHHS.