CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A new video featuring several prominent North Carolinians encourages seniors to get vaccinated for the coronavirus. The video, shared by North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), was played during a state coronavirus task force briefing Tuesday afternoon. The video features Harvey Gantt, a former mayor of Charlotte, and Hugh McColl, a former CEO of Bank of America.
In the video, both men appeared to have recorded messages at vaccination sites in Charlotte.
“I want all the people who are my age to enjoy their golden years,” said Gantt.
“I mean it just makes good sense to try to protect yourself,” added McColl.
The entire video is only a minute and a half long. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake is also highlighted in the video.
“I’m asking my seniors and my young people to encourage my seniors and young people to participate in this process,” said Leake in the video.
WBTV spoke to Leake in an interview Tuesday evening. She said got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday at the Bojangles Coliseum vaccination site in Charlotte. She said she had not experienced any issues because of the vaccine.
The commissioner explained that she hadn’t heard any of her constituents refuse to get the vaccine, but noted that they have had questions about getting the shot.
“For one, they don’t know anything about it. The unknown is always questionable so my thing was, if I represent the people, then I have to do what I say I’m going to do and hopefully they will follow through,” said Leake.
She said she encourages people to read up on the vaccine before making a decision about whether to get it.
“Let’s make sure that we have the information and the facts so that we can make a sound decisions on our own,” said the commissioner.
During Tuesday’s state briefing, NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen addressed the impact that the virus has had on minority communities in North Carolina. She noted that while blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately impacted at the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers have changed.
“We’re working hard to ensure historically marginalized populations are informed about the importance of getting vaccinated,” said Cohen.
She said blacks and African-Americans make up 22 percent of North Carolina’s population and account for 20 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 26 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.
Cohen also explained that Hispanics and Latinx residents account for just under 10 percent of the state’s population. She said they account for 24 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 8 percent of the state’s COVID deaths.