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Talk To Us: COVID Questions

Lilly Knoepp
Jackson County Rec Center during COVID-19 vaccination event in January.

BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in a new segment "Talk To Us: COVID Questions."

BPR’s Lilly Knoepp brings us this week’s answer.

This week, Niyaso Cannizzaro of Buncombe County submitted this question: “When will at-risk individuals under the age of 65 be able to get the vaccine?”

To get an answer, we asked Melissa McKnight, deputy health director with Jackson County Public Health:

“So if you have a high-risk individual but they aren’t yet 65. They are likely to be assigned to group 4,” said McKnight.

She recommends finding your vaccine group through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services(NCDHHS) tool: Find My Group. The website will ask you a series to questions to help you determine what is your vaccine group. Here’s more information on the specific Buncombe County waitlist and Standby list.

Then you can find out what group your local vaccine provider is in through another NCDHHS tool: My Spot.nc.gov. This tool will allow you to put in your zip code to determine where you can sign up for an appointment for the vaccine. Vaccine providers are enrolled by the state and include health departments, federally qualified health centers, pharmacies, hospitals and more.

There still isn’t a clear timeline for when each county or the state will move into each vaccine group.

“I don’t have any information on when we will move to Group 4. I know the state has moved to Group 3 for our childcare workers, as well as, our teachers on February 24th.  And then we will move to the remainder of group 3 on March 10th,” said McKnight.  “I do encourage folks who fall into Group 3, who think that they are eligible, to reach out to their vaccine provider and make sure they have enough vaccine on hand to move to that group as well.”

Do you have a question you’d like answered?  Tells us!  Record a voice memo and send it to voices@bpr.org, or use the talk to us feature on the free BPR mobile app, and we may get you an answer next.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.