Mecklenburg County ‘meets people where they are’ to administer vaccine

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 9:33 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County says supply of the vaccine is higher than ever, but demand is lagging.

More than 50 percent of North Carolinians have at least one dose of the vaccine. But in Mecklenburg County, it’s only 30 percent, according to state data.

Now the county is ramping up on a new approach. They’re brining the vaccine to the people. We’ve seen partnerships like this already where the country is bringing their clinics to social events on the weekends.

They’re now ramping up those events and focusing on communities that are behind when it comes to vaccines, one of those being Black Food Truck Friday.

“If we have to go back to the office and get more doses, we’re happy to do that,” said Dr. Raynard Washington, the deputy health director in Mecklenburg County.

The county brought one of their mobile clinics to the weekly food truck event. It’s part of the county’s efforts to increase vaccination rates in the community. The county sits at just 30 percent partially vaccinated, where Wake County is at 38 percent.

“We’re working as hard as we can to get the vaccine into communities so this is an opportunity to come where people are,” Dr. Washington said.

These events are focused on communities who are getting the vaccine at a slower rate, including young people and minority groups.

“There are a number of folks in our African American, and other communities of color here. Those folks in that community in particular are lagging in terms of vaccinations,” he said. “So we need to make sure we make it as easy as possible for folks in our community to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

That’s why Cathay Dawkins decided to get the vaccine on Friday.

“I wanted to be a role model and show other African Americans they need to get vaccinated,” he said.

Dawkins organizes Black Food Truck Friday. He said he didn’t think twice when deciding to partner with the county.

“We wanted to do our part in ensuring that we help African Americans get vaccinated,” he said.

And he says because it’s a more casual environment, people have the opportunity to ask questions.

“I even had questions about the vaccines, they were able to answer my vaccines,” Dawkins said. “It’s great to come out to the mobile clinics that they have so you can, any questions of anxiety you have about the vaccine, they already know everything. They have all the answers for you.”

Action NC was also there. But instead of being at the event, they were in the surrounding neighborhoods knocking on doors and telling people they could get the vaccine down the road.

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