There’s a lot happening these days on the COVID front, particularly the long-anticipated release of the COVID-19 vaccine. The NCDHHS has created a COVID-19 vaccine website (available in Spanish), which is regularly updated and includes a lot of helpful information about who will get the vaccine when.

A tested, safe and effective vaccine will be available soon to all who want it, but supplies will be limited at first. Independent state and federal public health advisory committees have determined that the best way to fight COVID-19 is to start first with vaccinations for those most at risk, reaching more people as the vaccine supply increases from January to June.

Keep practicing the 3 Ws —wear a mask, wait six feet apart, wash your hands—until everyone has a chance to be vaccinated.

North Carolina will use a phased approach for administering the vaccine:

Phase 1a

  • Health care workers at high risk for exposure to COVID-19—doctors, nurses, and all who interact and care for patients with COVID-19, including those who clean areas used by patients, and those giving vaccines to these workers.
  • Long-Term Care staff and residents— people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes.

Phase 1b

  • Adults with two or more chronic conditions that put them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC, including conditions like cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes, among others.
  • Adults at high risk of exposure including essential frontline workers (police, food processing, teachers, child care), health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, migrant and fishery housing with 2+ chronic conditions.
  • Those working in prisons, jails and homeless shelters (no chronic conditions requirement).

Phase 2

  • Essential frontline workers, health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters or migrant and fishery housing.
  • Adults 65+
  • Adults under 65 with one chronic condition that puts them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC.

Phase 3

  • College and university students.
  • K-12 students when there is an approved vaccine for children.
  • Those employed in jobs that are critical to society and at lower risk of exposure.

Phase 4

  • Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.

For More Information

Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and the distribution process.

For COVID-19 resources, information and assistance from across North Carolina visit the website.


COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Phases Infographic