Vaccines for COVID-19 are becoming a reality for more of the population, including some college students.With North Carolina’s current rollout plan in Group 4, many students will soon have the opportunity to become vaccinated. The United States is currently holding itself in phase 1a, which includes vaccinating health care workers who are fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents. As of March 17, North Carolina is currently in Group 4a: this includes all those in the previous Groups 1, 2 and 3, as well as those with high risk medical conditions. For more on who can get vaccinated at this time, click here.
There are some misconceptions about the vaccine, such as the idea that there is only one vaccine that will be distributed to everyone. There are three vaccines currently approved by the FDA through an Emergency Use Authorization: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Several other companies are also working to get their vaccines approved. Each vaccine's effectiveness differed during their clinical trials but they all show signs of being above 70% effective, including AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which has yet to be approved. As the vaccination schedule continues to be implemented, it is important to understand that it may take some time for all of Group 4 to be able to access the vaccine.
The vaccine is not currently being offered to all college students. However, students with high risk medical conditions and some students who have on-campus, in-person jobs who may qualify as essential workers are likely to be eligible in Group 3 or Group 4a. Group 4b, which includes students who live on campus as part of the congregate living settings, will become eligible on April 7. To access a quiz offered by the state government that determines vaccine eligibility, click here, or find out more about all the groups here.
By Alyssa Byrum, Contributing Writer