Novant Health to open permanent vaccination clinic in East Charlotte

Novant Health opening permanent vaccination clinic in east Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Novant Health will open a permanent vaccine clinic on East Independence Boulevard next week.

Nikki Nissen, vice president of Clinical Operations and chief nursing officer for Novant Health Medical Group says the permanent vaccination clinic will open next Wednesday. Nissen did not give an exact location of where the clinic will be, but said it is a large building that has a large parking lot. When vaccine supply becomes more available, hospital leaders expect to be able to administer 4,000 to 5,000 doses per day.

The opening of the clinic will happen at the same time the state is expanding vaccine eligibility to Pre-K through 12 educators and staff members. The state estimates this will make an additional 240,000 people eligible for the vaccine.

“We’re looking to open up some afternoon hours for our local Pre-K through 12th staff and daycare,” Nissen said.

Nissen said the hospital system was struggling to find a large enough location to accommodate a mass vaccination clinic under a short term lease. She says they will continue to explore sites in several neighborhoods, but the real estate in East Charlotte also provides better access to minority communities.

“It is on a public transportation route. And it’s a fair amount of Latino population in and around that neighborhood too,” Nissen said.

According to NCDHHS, nearly 1.2 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in North Carolina. However, less than 3 percent of those first shots have gone to Hispanic people.

The Camino Community Center is a nonprofit in the University City area that provides resources to primarily minorities, especially Hispanic people. CEO of the Camino Community Center, Rusty Price, says it will take more than a convenient location to get more people within the LatinX community vaccinated.

“I think the biggest issue is trust in the Latino population,” Price said.

Price described how language and cultural barriers makes is difficult for people within the LatinX community to get accurate and educational information about the coronavirus and the vaccine.

What we find is that the immigrant community have these preconceived ideas and a lack of understanding of the systems,” Price said. “So I think what happens is our systems are working really hard and they don’t want to leave people out, but because of the trust because of maybe some cultural understanding barriers, a lot of things that are being done are not affectively reaching the community.”

The Camino Community Center hosted a vaccination clinic over the weekend. Roughly 80 people received shots. Price says it may not have been very efficient, but they were able to walk recipients through the paperwork and educational materials so they had a better understanding of why they needed the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We were there able to walk them through the paperwork, which is another thing, they may have it in Spanish, but they don’t comprehend what the concept is,” Price said. “So, our people were just sitting there, lovingly walking them through.”

Price says he is working with Novant Health to record educational videos about the coronavirus and vaccine in Spanish. He says it will take education on a larger scale to reach the Hispanic population.

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