NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace partners with Novant Health to address vaccine hesitancy

Bubba Wallace, Novant Health partner up to tackle vaccine hesitancy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Novant Health has been working to educate the community on the safety and effectiveness of the shot since the beginning of the rollout.

Their strategies are now evolving in anticipation of more hesitancy after the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine pause.

Among their efforts, they are announcing a partnership with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.

In addition, Novant Health will serve as the Official Health and Wellness Provider of 23XI Racing and its employees.

Could pausing of Johnson & Johnson vaccine create more hesitancy?

“Whether it’s now or a few weeks from now, we will get to the point where the vaccine is readily available at a number of locations and we still don’t have enough individuals that have been vaccinated or had covid to give herd immunity to the community,” Dr. David Priest with Novant Health said.

As vaccine supply goes up, demand is leveling.

A few possible reasons are a lack of urgency and hesitancy.

“We look at the data and we can determine which populations are somewhat hesitant,” Dr. Jerome Williams with Novant Health said.

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and the Black community

Novant Health leaders say a lot of hesitancy seems to be among minorities and young people.

It’s why the health system is partnering with NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace to show if he can do it, so can you.

“I’m getting vaccinated to do it for my fans, my friends, my family, all of those people that I am around to provide some sort of security,” Wallace said.

Wallace says he understands the hesitancy in Black and brown communities.

“It’s hard to trust people when you haven’t received the same fair treatment as your white neighbors, companions, whatever you want to call it, so it’s different and it’s tough from that standpoint,” he said. “So I stand with them but I’m here to say I’m doing it, I encourage you all. I’m being strong about it, so let’s do it together.”

To make the shot more accessible, Novant Health is also launching mobile units to travel to priority zip codes.

They are providing information in the community with the hopes of getting more shots in arms.

Wallace says they have a common goal.

“Normalcy,” he said. “Just getting back to normal.”

Right now Novant Health provides pop-up clinics in communities each week.

According to a press release from Novant Health: “To date, Novant Health’s vaccination rate for Asian and Black patients at a community event is three times that of the general North Carolina vaccination rate. The healthcare system has administered over 15,000 equity doses at small community pop-up events where 67% of attendees identify as a member of a racial or ethnic minority.”

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