North Carolina expands vaccine eligibility; county sees high demand

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit ready to be administered to health care workers at a vaccination clinic at Carteret Health Care last month. (Elise Clouser photo)

Reporter's note: This article was updated at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, with more information. 

CARTERET COUNTY — Beginning Friday, the Carteret County Health Department will begin taking requests to be placed on the vaccine appointment list for those 65 years of age and older.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services updated the COVID-19 vaccination plan Thursday, revamping the earlier plan that included groups in phases. Those 65 and older are now considered in Group 2.

Those individuals who are 75 years of age or older and are currently listed on the vaccine appointment waiting list in Carteret County will be prioritized first to receive vaccine appointments as vaccines become available, according to a county release issued Thursday afternoon. The health department will notify individuals once vaccine appointments become available.

Health officials continue to appeal to the public for patience as they wait to be called back once they are placed on the waiting list.

“We expect a large volume of calls from the 65 and over populations. The County set up a call center earlier this week to assist in the calls requesting to be placed on the waiting list,” the release states.

“Please understand that the waiting list currently has over 4,000 individuals waiting for a vaccine appointment. The demand for vaccines far outweighs the amount of vaccines the County has received,” the release continued. “Please do not call to check your status on the waitlist as this will hinder others from being able to contact us to be placed on the list.”

Health department officials said they will exhaust all their current vaccine doses this week. The department is working in conjunction with Carteret Health Care in Morehead City to assist in administering doses to individuals on the list.

“At this time, the Health Department will not be vaccinating persons outside of the revised NCDHHS Group 1 and Group 2 due to limited vaccines,” the release continues. “It will likely take weeks to ensure individuals in these groups have received their vaccination. We ask for the public’s patience as we navigate this vaccination rollout. Rest assured you have a spot.”

As the state approves other groups to be vaccinated, the local health department said it will post information on the county website and Facebook pages.

Michelle Lee with CHC told the News-Times the hospital is coordinating its vaccination effort with the health department, and it would follow the department’s lead on implementing the new guidelines.

“We’re working with the Carteret County Health Department to coordinate an effort to vaccinate as many people as we can,” she said.

To request to be placed on the county’s waiting list, visit or call 252-728-8550, option 2.

To learn where you fall in the NCDHHS vaccination plan, visit

For more information on the North Carolina vaccine distribution process, visit



(Previous report)

MOREHEAD CITY — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday the state is expanding COVID-19 vaccine protocols to allow shots be given to anyone aged 65 and older, but local health officials say Carteret County first needs to get through a backlog of vaccine appointments before they can begin to vaccinate the new group.

The Carteret County Health Department, with help from Carteret Health Care in Morehead City, is currently working on vaccinating individuals in Phase 1b, Group 1 of the state’s vaccination plan, which includes those 75 and older. The county has seen a huge demand from this group, and there is a wait list for appointments to receive the vaccine.  

Michelle Lee with CHC told the News-Times the hospital is coordinating its vaccination effort with the health department, and it would follow the department’s lead on implementing the new guidelines. She said she expects the focus to remain on vaccinating the 75 and older age group before moving on to the new group.

“We’re working with the Carteret County Health Department to coordinate an effort to vaccinate as many people as we can,” she said.

Health department officials did not immediately respond to an email from the News-Times seeking comment on the updated guidance and on the county’s plan.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen is expected to provide more information on the expanded vaccination guidelines during a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday.

(7) comments

David Collins

No wonder she quit !


Didn’t you previously call her a rat? You seem unappreciative for no apparent reason. But you are the “darling” of this site’s moderator!

David Collins

Expands eligibility , not inoculations . Somehow this is good ?


My step mother, who is in the 75 and over group got her shot last Wednesday. She said when she called they have plenty of appointment times available and gave her 6 different options for this week.

Guess I could drive to Forsyth county to get a shot.

David Collins

The sinking ship is a reference to how our state government is handling this vaccine deployment . When a ship start to sink , the residents look for a way off to save their backsides . No one wants to be a part of a failing government program so as a career move they quickly exit , stage right . One of the prime directives of government employment is to CYA , followed by have your resume up to date and ready at hand . The term rat / cockroaches was and is a figure of speech used to add emphasis . Get over it !

David Collins

One more thing .

If you are the county health director and truly care about the folks you serve , you should be screaming at Dr Mandy Cohen for more vaccine . You should be aggressive towards jabbing as many folks as possible by removing restrictions and red tape . Sadly , Dr Cohen , while she does have letters before and after her name , has no field experience . She is a full fledged BUREAUCRAT with a cute chipmunk face and a bad hair do . She may be good at some things but is in way over her head . She currently has her eyes on higher positions and if called upon will PUFF , disappear . That is also why our state is one of the worst in the nation in dealing with this Covid thing .

All I have said is easily checked , if one has the inclination , Any more questions ?


Carteret County Health Department especially, along with The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, are a disgrace at handling vaccinations. This of course falls on the heads or directors for these divisions.

Cannon resigned knowing that she has failed/betrayed the citizens of Carteret County and knows her failure will only get worse. (rat is a slang word that can be used as a verb meaning betray).

Welcome to the discussion.

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