Pitt County Health Department offering free vaccines, expressing vaccination importance with variants on the rise

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Getting as many people vaccinated as possible has been the goal of health departments and officials across the nation. Pitt County’s health experts are continuing to echo that same sentiment.

Health officials in Pitt County want to make sure people know not only is the vaccine free, but they are willing to come to you. Through the help of some partnerships, the Pitt County Health Department is hosting a free clinic and also sharing how the shot can save your life.

“While we can’t put the fire out, we don’t want the fire to burn too brightly,” said Dr. John Silvernail, Pitt County’s Health Director.

A battle that’s been happening for over a year now. Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and is now even mutating into new variants.

“Just across the river in Beaufort County, my friend James Madson, the health director over there ran some numbers and he came up with an odds ratio of 6.5 to 1. If you are unvaccinated your risk of getting COVID was 6.5 times greater than someone who was vaccinated.”

Dr. John Silvernail, Health Director for Pitt County says they want to help make sure communities have access to the shot, so they’re doing more outreach.

“We’ve been looking for ways to get vaccines to the people and it was actually one of the commissioners that made a connection for us with the Piggly Wiggly, the regional manager,” said Dr. Silvernail. “So, we felt that most people kind of shop there’s a pattern of people shopping week to week, and we felt if we were there roughly the same day every week, we might get some of those folks who saw us the first time but were reluctant to get the vaccine might reconsider on the second pass.”

Outreach efforts like this have also improved minority vaccination rates, especially in African American communities.

“We felt that we didn’t want there to be any barrier. The vaccine administration fee was very small and our cost to bill for it, the aggravation of billing for it, we just didn’t feel that was worth it.”

He wants to make it clear that even with the variants on the rise, the outcomes of not getting the shot can come with some major consequences.

“We need to keep making it available to African Americans, trying to remove barriers between the vaccine and African Americans.”

The clinic will be set up from 10 AM – 2 PM.

“But from a risk standpoint the risk is far far greater if you’re unvaccinated right now for those severe outcomes than if you are,” said Dr. Silvernail.

Dr. Silvernail says the Moderna vaccines are offered at the clinics. The health department will also be hosting a clinic all week long at the county fair from the 21-25 to help continue on with their mission.

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