Wake County now going door-to-door in effort to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Frustrated with some segments of the population not getting the COVID-19 vaccines, Wake County is now expanding its efforts to get shots to more people.

At places like regional vaccination centers, officials say they’ve seen a leveling off of those getting the shots, so the county is now taking the shots to those who need them.

One way to bring the shots to under-vaccinated communities is to set up pop-up clinics — such as one at the Wilders Grove Shopping Center.

“We’ve been concerned about seeing vaccination rates go down and down,” said Wake Med’s Dr. Nerissa Price. “We assumed it was because people weren’t interested, but it’s not true. People need access.”

But, even getting people to come to the pop-up neighborhood clinics can be frustrating. So this week, Wake County began sending what it calls “strike teams” to neighborhoods bringing the vaccines door-to-door.

At Kingsborough Estates in southeast Raleigh crews found it no easy task to convince folks to take the shot.

As they worked their way through the neighborhood, they ran into the Flores family.

Kovin Flores-Aguilar, 19, had resisted getting a shot until they came to his house offering one.

He explained why he was hesitant.

“I was just worried about bad side effects and then I’d get sick,” he said

The neighborhood is in an area where vaccination rates are hovering around 30 percent compared to elsewhere in the county where the rate is between 70 to 80 percent.

Because of the low rates, the county considers this outreach vital.

Dr. Price said the spiking COVID infection rates are worrisome.

“I’m very concerned this could be the start of a road we do not want to go down again,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important to get the message out and find solutions to barriers and get shots in arms.”

Now that Flores-Aguilar has had his first shot, the word will spread in this neighborhood that it’s nothing to fear.

“I’ll let them know it wasn’t that bad,” Flores-Aguilar said. “They shouldn’t be worried.”

Those who got the shots at their home are given an option: They can get their second dose at home or they can come to one of the nearby clinics to get the second dose.

Meanwhile, the strike teams are prepared to go back to those neighborhoods a second time, if necessary.

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