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Group 3 vaccination appointments will open Monday

In preparation for its transition into Group 3 of the state’s vaccination plan, the Beaufort County Health Department will open 1,640 COVID-19 vaccine appointments Monday morning.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday, people who are eligible to receive a vaccine in Group 3 can schedule an appointment by calling the department’s COVID-19 hotline (252-940-6150) or by clicking HERE.

Group 3 includes frontline essential workers, which covers employees in eight sectors: critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety and transportation. A detailed breakdown of which positions are eligible in Group 3 can be found HERE. The health department has already made vaccine arrangements for school personnel and government employees.

Beaufort County Health Director Jim Madson estimates that at least 14,000 people will become eligible in Group 3.

“Please understand that the demand for the vaccine will be greater than the number of appointments we can offer,” a statement from the health department reads. “We are restricted by the weekly allocations coming to us from the state. We are aware that other opportunities in the community or surrounding counties have become available for individuals to get their vaccine, which is great. If you have already received your vaccine and have an appointment with us, please call 252-940-6150 or email bchealth@bchd.net to cancel your appointment.”

The start of Group 3 doesn’t mean the window of opportunity has closed for people ages 65 and older who want the vaccine. Madson said those individuals should also call the hotline, as some appointments have been earmarked specifically for them.

As of Friday, 8,235 Beaufort County residents — roughly 17% of the county’s population, and 64% of its eligible population — had received their first of two vaccine doses. The amount of county residents who’d received both doses was 2,600.