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Verify: Can you cross state and county lines in the Carolinas for a COVID-19 vaccine?

Health officials encourage people to stay closer to home for their COVID-19 vaccinations, but can they deny you if you come from out-of-county or out-of-state?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As health officials scramble to vaccinate everyone who is eligible and wants a COVID-19 vaccine, the demand still outweighs the supply in the Carolinas and across the country.

So, as people consider their options for getting an appointment, how far can they look?

THE QUESTION

In the Carolinas, can you cross county or state lines to get your COVID-19 vaccine?

THE ANSWER

There do not appear to be any barriers in North Carolina or South Carolina for someone wanting to get a COVID-19 vaccination outside their home county or even going across state lines for their shot.

To be clear, for reasons, including logistical ones, health officials would prefer if you stayed closer to home.

"I would say start with your local health department and your local hospital. So understand: Are they taking appointments? Are they creating waitlists?" said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Health and Human Services Secretary for North Carolina.

However, if your county or local hospital is all booked up with appointments, but you know a neighboring county still has openings, Cohen said there is nothing stopping you from getting your shot there.

"You don't have to be confined to your county. Counties can and should and must serve all jurisdictions," said Cohen.

By "all jurisdictions," that means even people coming from out of state.

"These vaccines are paid for by the federal government. They're not supposed to be limited to that one location or one county," said Cohen. "(Vaccine providers) do sign an agreement with us to make sure they are serving folks beyond their county borders as well."

What about South Carolina?

In the Palmetto State, people can look for available vaccine providers all across the state on the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website.

As for residency requirements, DHEC's website states "non-permanent residents" who are currently living in South Carolina when their vaccine eligibility opens can get the vaccine. However, proof of residency will not be required.

Not all states are operating this way. Florida, for example, just started requiring proof of residency for a coronavirus vaccine.