COVID-19 vaccines are an exciting milestone in returning to normal. Making a plan to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible is an important part of getting back to the people and places we love.

Who can get a vaccine?

Initially, certain groups at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 are eligible to receive a vaccine, but eventually, everyone who wants to receive a vaccine will be able to do so.

Eligible Now:

Group 1: Health Care Workers and Long-Term Care Staff and Residents.

Group 2: Anyone 65 years and older, regardless of health status or living situation.

How do I get a vaccine?

Supplies are very limited, but North Carolinians can rest assured–you have a spot to take your shot.

If you are currently eligible, you can receive a vaccine at hospitals, local health departments, and long-term care facilities. It is important to note that as supplies are limited and demand is high, these sites may not have vaccine doses on hand. As more vaccines become available, they will also be available in clinics, pharmacies and other settings.

To find out where you can take your shot, visit or call the NCDHHS COVID-19 line at 1‑877‑490‑6642.

There are a few important things to know when planning to get a vaccine:

  1. While supplies are limited, you will typically have to make an appointment to receive a vaccine.
  2. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, whether or not you have health insurance.
  3. You will need two shots – after your first dose, you will need to come back 3 to 4 weeks later for a second dose. You will get a printed card and email reminder of when to get your second dose.

If I am not eligible today, when will I be able to get a vaccine?

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released a tentative distribution plan, and vaccinations will happen by group in the following order. Timing is not yet determined for these groups.

This information is subject to change and was last updated on 1/14/21.

Group 3: Frontline essential workers. 

Group 4: Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness. This includes anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID-19; anyone incarcerated or living in other lose group settings who is not already vaccinated, and essential workers not yet vaccinated.

Group 5: Everyone age 16 and older who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective?

The two vaccines currently approved for emergency use have been thoroughly tested and reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 and have no serious safety concerns.

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. You may have temporary side effects like a sore arm, headache, or feeling tired and achy for a day or two after receiving the vaccine.

If you have specific questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, contact your physician.

For more vaccine information, please visit North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services.