At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Jackson revises vaccine distribution guidelines

The N.C. Division of Health and Human Services modified its guidelines for vaccine distribution today, and Jackson County has modified its guidelines to match the states.

The new prioritization for vaccine distribution in Jackson County is:

  • Group 1: Healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents
    o Healthcare workers with in-person patient contact.
    o Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, and continuing care retirement communities.
  • Group 2: Older adults

      o Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation ·

  •  Group 3: Frontline essential workers

     o The CDC defines frontline essential workers as workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and who are at substantially higher risk for exposure to COVID-19.

  • Group 4: Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness
    o Anyone 16 to 64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID-19 such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation.
    o Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical conditions or job function.

     o Essential workers not yet vaccinated. The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g. construction), finance (e.g. bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, public safety (e.g. engineers), and public health workers.

  • Group 5: Everyone else who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

JCDPH is currently vaccinating those who fall into Group 1 and Group 2. To receive a vaccine, you must pre-register by calling 828.631.HELP or by completing this online form at https://forms.gle/NtPSjjSJSVQMPTD26. After you have pre-registered, a JCDPH staff member will call you back to make your appointment at an upcoming COVID-19 Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic. Pre-registrants will be called in the order with which their information was received.

Starting January 19, 2021, JCDPH will offer COVID-19 vaccine appointments via COVID-19 Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinics. These Clinics will be offered as follows:

  • Tuesdays, Jackson County Department on Aging (100 County Services Park Sylva, NC)
  • Thursdays, Jackson County Department on Aging (100 County Services Park Sylva, NC)

Pre-registration and appointments are required for the COVID-19 Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinics. Additional dates will be added and/or modified as more vaccine supply becomes available or as needed.

“We want our community to know that we are working as quickly as we can to schedule appointments for those who have pre-registered,” said Deputy Health Director Melissa McKnight. “We currently have over 1900 community members who have pre-registered and expect many more now that NCDHHS has opened eligibility to those who are 65 years and older. We ask for our community to help us by waiting to pre-register until their Group is announced. We are working with an extremely limited supply of vaccine at the moment and we are not informed of our weekly supply of vaccine until days prior to receiving it. We continue to work to streamline services and address capacity issues.”

To help our community, JCDPH has developed a Frequently Asked Question document, available at https://tinyurl.com/COVID19VaxFAQJacksonCounty. For more information, visit JCDPH’s website at http://health.jacksonnc.org/covid19 or call the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 828-631-HELP.

Receive our FREE SMN Xtra newsletter

Go to top