CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte breweries are teaming up with health care providers to make the vaccine more accessible.
Atrium Health partnered with NoDa Brewing Company in North End to administer 200 shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday night.
"Community partners started to look for ways to come to the people, rather than the people come to them," NoDa Brewing Company Taproom General Manager Jamaar Valentine said.
Those who got the vaccine were able to get a free beer. The goal was to incentivize Mecklenburg County residents to get vaccinated.
"It's after most individuals are off work or out of school for the day, they don't have the challenge of trying to schedule their time and rush, they can come in and relax," Valentine said.
The latest coronavirus data shows 20% of Mecklenburg County residents are fully vaccinated and 32% have received one dose.
Health officials said the pace of vaccinations may be slowing down - especially among the youngest crowds.
"As the initial rush to get vaccines have calmed down a little bit and we've gotten more supply, it becomes more and more important to our give access to our populations in different locations," Dr. Passaretti with Atrium Health said. "Partnering with places that people want to go for other reasons, makes sense."
This comes as Mecklenburg County leaders say they're closing down the vaccine clinic at Bojangles Coliseum in May.
"We are seeing to some extent, is lack of urgency, we still have people accessing the vaccine we just have to work a little harder," Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said.
The health department will focus on small community events moving forward.
"They have the flexibility of just saying, 'Oh I'm here and the vaccine is here, I'll get it,'" Harris said. "There's a great chance we're going to get our younger population vaccinated."
Novant Health Medical Group said they have noticed a drop in vaccine clinic appointments recently.
"The demand has declined some since Johnson and Johnson was pulled," family medicine physician and senior physician executive with Novant Health Medical Group, Dr. Ashley Perrott said.
Health care providers are facing now facing vaccine hesitancy, with people still concerned about the vaccine.
"There will always be a group of people who are concerned about things that need an extra nudge," Dr. Perrott said.
To help combat that hesitation, they're working with local community leaders to get the vaccine in places people trust and enjoy. Convenience is also key, especially for young adults who haven't been vaccinated.
"Some of our younger age groups of people have different hours that they're able to come get the vaccine, so there's been some push to allow for early morning hours or later in the evening hours," Dr. Perrott said.
StarMed HealthCare is also announcing they are teaming up with Town Brewing to get more shots into arms.
"Now you're left with a population that thinks it's not going to affect them. Why should they care? And that's the wrong attitude," StarMed HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arin Piramzadian said. "We're all connected. We all need to put in the effort to get vaccinated."
Piramzadian said the vaccination event will take place on April 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment will be required, Pfizer will be available.
"We've always been so medical and limiting on how we can fight this, this is one of the fun ways we can do it," Dr. Piramzadian said
Their hope is to create more demand and urgency for the vaccine. It's also the breweries' opportunity at bringing back more business.
"As we do our part to help with community health, it's much earlier we can get back to normal," Valentine said. "If we have a healthy community our business thrives more."
Those who receive their first dose at NoDa Brewing will be able to sign up for their second dose, according to Atrium Health officials.