CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Urban League of Central Carolinas is working with Atrium Health to put together a COVID-19 mass vaccination event Saturday.
The event is happening at the old Eastland Mall site in east Charlotte. It will be drive-thru only and around 600 people will be vaccinated, according to Teddy McDaniel, president and CEO of Urban League of Central Carolinas.
The event is a part of the Community Immunity for All collaborative, an effort to put together vaccination events reaching minority communities.
McDaniel spoke to WBTV in a Zoom interview Friday, explaining that he will get his first doses of the vaccine at Saturday’s event. He noted that he is hoping to set a good example for others.
“We want people to know that it is safe. It’s been tested. It’s been tried by many folks and this is really about saving lives,” said McDaniel.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, people who are black or African American make up 23.1 percent of the total population, but they only account for 16.7 percent of the state’s vaccinated population. People who are Hispanic make up 9.8 percent of the state’s total population, but they only account for 4 percent of the state’s vaccinated population.
WBTV spoke with Sultan El-Amin, a Charlotte resident who said he does not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He explained the reasoning behind his decision in an interview Friday.
“I mean I never took the flu shot, the vaccines for all that stuff, all the stuff we’ve had to take before this vaccine I didn’t take and I’m in pretty good shape,” said El-Amin. “If they don’t force me to take it, then I don’t see myself taking it.”
McDaniel acknowledged that some people in minority communities do not want the vaccine, but said he has seen data that shows many people in the Black community do want to get the shot.
“We want to change this narrative that there is so much distrust in the community. There is and there’s reason for it, but we have to be a voice for the voiceless and make sure that we get access to those because our statistics say that underserved communities want the vaccine, it’s just on us to get the access to them directly,” explained McDaniel.
He said Saturday’s event is completely booked, but he is hoping the Urban League of Central Carolinas will be able to help put together another vaccination event in the next month.
He encouraged people who are interested to check the Urban League of Central Carolinas website for updates on upcoming events.