GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Pitt County Health Department and the Citizens Advocating for Racial Equity and Equality, also known as CAREE, teamed up Saturday to get those in marginalized communities the COVID-19 vaccine.

Tonya Foreman is the founder of CAREE.

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“We have done that in an effort to reduce the gap that exists in the number of minorities that are receiving the vaccination in comparison with our Caucasian brothers and sisters,” said Foreman.

Nearly 300 eligible members in the community signed up to get their shots. Dr. Kimberly Hardy said coordinators made sure to follow statewide eligibility guidelines as well.

“The difference with this clinic is that we have targeted populations that have been historically vaccine-hesitant or perhaps don’t have access to care,” said Hardy.

The National Guard was there to help with logistics, registrations and scheduling for the vaccination event. Foreman said times like this can be hard for healthcare professionals so local efforts to team up are important.

“Dr. Harding with the support of Dr. (John) Silvernail (Pitt County Health Director) has gone above and beyond in the effort to work with us to make sure that we were able to make the vaccine attainable to the minority community at large,” said Foreman.

Through their partnerships with churches and other community organizations, they were able to spread the word. They also explain how the event is used to help end the stigma that may be in minority communities involving not trusting vaccines and medical professionals.

“I would say that most of the minority communities do want the vaccine, they just did not know how to get it or schedule appointments,” said Foreman.

Hardy said this is what the medical field is all about.

“It means we are doing what public health is designed to do. Our focus is always the population and the entire public but particularly making sure we have access to care for patients who do not traditionally have access to care or who may be underserved,” said Hardy.

Hardy said this event will continue and they will work to get out vaccines to those in need over the next week.