Online Originals: Vaccine equity in ENC and how health experts are closing that gap

Health Watch

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — President Joe Biden will be in Raleigh Thursday as part of his nationwide COVID-19 vaccination tour. Biden’s new goal is to have 70% of the U.S. adult population at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

There are still major concerns over disparities in vaccine equity across the country. Local medical experts say there is still significant hesitancy surrounding the vaccine, and they are working to combat that through education and extra resources.

Health experts tell 9OYS those gaps are especially prevalent within African American and Hispanic/Latin X communities. Judy Pierce, director of Mission Effectiveness at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, said Craven County and surrounding counties, “are doing a great job of making [the vaccine] available to those who choose at this point, to have the vaccine.”

9OYS also spoke with Pitt County Health Director Dr. John Silvernail. He said the county has seen similar trends in disparities among African American and Hispanic/Latin X communities. But recently, the county has closed the gap for members of the Hispanic/Latin X community, to nearly 1%. Silvernail also said they credit that to beginning to bring more vaccine clinics to the people, not having the people come to them.

Silvernail also noted across the country and trends here in North Carolina show women leading men in vaccinations. He attributes that to more women working in education and medical fields, giving them more access to vaccinations.

Pierce and other staff at CarolinaEast have gone above and beyond with their community outreach. That includes going out into the community while clinics were going on, walking door-to-door, sharing information about the vaccine and inviting those people to come to their clinic.

Pierce said over the past few months, they’ve served over 3,000 people between the hospital and clinics and that number continues to grow every day.

We have provided information, we’ve done our research, our homework. We provided that information to the public, we provided it for our staff here to share with their family and friends; to bring some light and truth regarding the vaccine and giving the community the choice of what vaccine they want.

Judy Pierce, director of Mission Effectiveness at CarolinaEast Medical Center

CarolinaEast will hold its next free mobile pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic on July 9 at the Armstrong Grocery Store from 10 a.m. to noon at 1201 Broad St. in New Bern.

Local resources about COVID-19 vaccines:

State Vaccine Locator

National Vaccine Locator

COVID-19 Vaccine Factsheet 

Moderna Vaccine Information 

Pfizer Vaccine Information

NCDHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions                  

CDC Vaccine Information

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