Health Team

List: Who's in what group in NC's vaccination priority list

Posted March 3, 2021 10:03 a.m. EST
Updated March 25, 2021 2:20 p.m. EDT

In North Carolina, people age 65 or older, health care workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, workers in key industries who are in close contact with the public and people with chronic health conditions are eligible to get a vaccine.

People in key industries who work remotely or who don't have close contact with the public are eligible for vaccination as of March 31. The final group on North Carolina's vaccination priority list, anyone 16 or older who hasn't already had a chance to get a shot, will be eligible on April 7.

Important links: County-by-county vaccine info | Quiz: Find your vaccine group | Find a COVID-19 testing site near you | Coronavirus NC maps and data | Complete pandemic coverage

Together, Groups 3 and 4 include millions of North Carolinians. Here's a list of who falls under each group.

Group 3: Frontline essential workers (who must be in person at their place of work)

Education and child care

  • Teachers, teacher assistants and student teachers
  • School owners, directors and supervisors
  • Bus and van drivers
  • Family support staff
  • Food service workers
  • Classroom support and administrative staff
  • Custodial and maintenance staff
  • Therapists and medical staff
  • Required on-site consultants
  • Media & IT specialists
  • School safety personnel
  • Librarians
  • School administrative staff
  • Instructional support staff
  • School nurses (became eligible in Group 1)

Food and agriculture

All workers in stores that sell groceries and medicine, including:

  • Meat packing workers
  • Food processing workers
  • Farm workers
  • Migrant farm/fishery workers
  • Food distribution and supply chain workers
  • Restaurant workers


  • Workers manufacturing medical supplies, medical equipment or PPE
  • Workers manufacturing products needed for food and agricultural supply chains


  • College and university instructors and support staff

Community and government

  • U.S. Postal Service and other shipping workers
  • Court workers
  • Elected officials
  • Clergy
  • Homeless shelter staff
  • Veterinarians, veterinarian staff and veterinarian students

Health care and public health

  • Public health workers
  • Social workers

First responders and public safety

  • Firefighters and EMS
  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections workers
  • Security officers
  • Public agency workers responding to abuse and neglect


  • Public transit workers
  • Division of Motor Vehicles workers
  • Transportation maintenance and repair technicians
  • Workers supporting highway infrastructure

Group 4:

Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke 
  • Chronic kidney disease 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dementia or other neurologic condition 
  • Diabetes type 1 or 2 
  • Down Syndrome 
  • A heart condition such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure 
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from: immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant
  • Liver disease, including hepatitis 
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Overweight or obesity  
  • Pregnancy 
  • Sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia 
  • Smoking (current or former, defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime)

People living in a close group setting

  • People experiencing homelessness or living in a homeless shelter
  • Correctional facility, such as jail or prison

Group 4: Essential workers not yet vaccinated and others in congregate settings

  • Those working in essential industries listed above but who don't necessarily work on the front lines
  • Workers in the following industries: chemicals, commercial facilities, communications and information technology, construction, defense, energy, financial services, hazardous materials, sanitation, plumbing, electrical, pest extermination and water and wastewater.
  • College students living in dormitories, fraternity or sorority houses or off-campus settings with others

Group 5: All adults not previously vaccinated

  • Anyone 16 or older who wants a shot. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one available to 16- and 17-year-olds. Vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are allowed only down to age 18.
Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.