COVID-19 vaccine registration opens for Group 3, thousands sign up

On Monday, Feb. 22 teachers, educators, and other Pre-K through 12 staff became eligible to begin registering for the COVID-19 vaccine. This group also included workers in childcare settings.

The move comes just weeks after Governor Roy Cooper and state leaders urged schools to resume in-person classes for students across the state, many of whom who have not been in a physical classroom since March 2020.

"I think it's encouraging because we're now moving through these groups and that means more and more people are eligible for this vaccination," said Wake County Public Health mass vaccination branch director. "That could help us as we try to use vaccination as one of the many tools against COVID."

As of late Monday afternoon, the county reported more than 9,800 individuals, who identified themselves as eligible for Group 3, submitted their information on the county's website.

"It's not really a waitlist," said Jury. "That's just someone telling us that they're interested in getting vaccinated and they would like to be on our request list or wait list. And we do know some people are putting themselves on multiple lists, which is OK."

Jury said the department will verify eligibility after registrants attest to accurate and truthful information based on the state's guidelines. However, that potential gap could mean untruthful people can possibly get vaccinated ahead of schedule.

"The state's system asks questions," said Jury. "We hope they answer them truthfully."

In an email to employees, WCPSS officials said in part, "It is a critical priority for the district to identify and expedite vaccination opportunities for all employees."

Wake County officials told ABC11 400 public school, charter school and child care workers have vaccine appointments for Wednesday at the Wake County Commons Building.

Orange County officials said 10,000 in Groups 1 and 2 remain on the waitlist and there's no word on when they will get to Group 3. Once it's time for Group 3, there will be a 2-week window priority. The public health department is working with the school district directly and no action is required by school staff.

In Durham County, signups are underway for Group 3. Priority vaccinations will be given to at-risk populations. There's no action required for school staff as the health department will work with districts directly.

UNC Hospitals is continuing to direct eligible people to their website to make an appointment.

Johnston County Public Schools sent a vaccine interest form to staff members in mid-January. Those who have been eligible have received the vaccine as it was made available.

The district is also in the process of coordinating a large vaccination event for employees, with details to follow.

Since Monday morning, Pre-K through 12th grade teachers and daycare workers in Cumberland County can now sign up for a potential vaccination appointment.

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Fayetteville mother Meilizze Feliciano first started her Jazzy Kidz Daycare Center in August 2020 and knew it would come with challenges.

However, she knows masks, social distancing, and sanitizing aren't a complete guarantee for protecting herself and others. "At the end of the day, it does not matter how much protecting I can do here for myself, my daughter, and my extended family."

Feliciano is now qualified to sign up for on the Cumberland County Department of Public Health website.

Doctor Jennifer Green, the Health Director for the CCDPH, says this partial Group 3 will start getting vaccinated on Feb. 24, adding, "This is a big deal."

Right now, Cumberland County is seeing around 1,600 vaccine doses a week. Dr. Green says it will present a challenge as they work to continue vaccinating front line workers and community members 65 years or older.

Feliciano, who works a Monday to Friday regular business hours schedule, says it could be difficult for her and others to be able to make it to the normal vaccine operations.

As far as prioritization, Green told ABC 11 that Group three will be organized based on who signs up first and makes it to their appointed time.

Feliciano intends to sign up and hopes to get the first dose of the vaccine as quickly as possible, going on to say, "It's an extra layer of protection, but I will still do what I am doing now."

County health officials say they're already preparing for the "essential workers" portion of Group three that's set to begin in mid-March.
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