Pastors and clergy are among those individuals who will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when state officials expand to the next phase of vaccinations.
In accordance with federal guidelines, state officials are making vaccines available by groups. North Carolina is currently vaccinating groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and people over the age of 65.
Group 3 includes those classified as “frontline essential workers” who work in one of eight essential sectors. Those sectors are: critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety and transportation.
Clergy are listed under the “government and community services” sector.
Group 4 includes adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness. Group 5 includes everyone.
Brian Davis, director of community and congregation engagement at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, said he is “thrilled” that ministers are eligible to receive the vaccine as essential workers.
“My teammates in the FaithHealth Division at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have been advocating for ministers to be recognized in this manner, and we appreciate NCDHHS leadership recognizing the important roles ministers play in community health,” Davis said. “I encourage ministers to receive the vaccination not only for their own well-being, but for the health and safety of everyone with whom they come in contact across their communities as they serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”
A new online resource can also help North Carolinians determine when they will be eligible to get a vaccine. The recently launched “Find My Vaccine Group” tool walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they are in. Individuals can then sign up to be notified when their group can receive a vaccination.
State officials say their goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible given the limited supply of vaccines. Vaccination groups are aligned with federal priorities, and local health departments and hospitals have flexibility to move to the next priority group as they complete vaccinations among each group and have vaccines available.
For the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19 and vaccinations, visit the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) website at ncdhhs.gov or contact your local health department.
Seth Brown contributed to this report.