CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New data from Mecklenburg County Public Health shows the percentage of people in each zip code who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since the first shot was administered on Dec. 14, 2020.
Zip code 28207, in the Myers Park area, has the most vaccinated people, with 71% of residents receiving at least one dose. The second-highest vaccination rate is in the Elizabeth area, zip code 28204, where 68% of the population has at least one dose of the vaccine.
Mecklenburg County Health Director told WCNC Charlotte the disparities aren't surprising, and they are similar to other health disparities that already exist. The people who live in the wealthier zip codes typically have better access to healthcare.
The zip code with the fewest amount of vaccinated people in Mecklenburg County is 28212, a portion of east Charlotte. The county's health department is using this data to strategically target where vaccination events should be held in underserved communities.
Right in that zip code, off Central Avenue near the old Eastland Mall site, is StarMed Healthcare’s new vaccination clinic.
“It was convenient, I live right down the street,” William Dorsey, who lives in that zip code, said.
Dorsey said he put it off but finally decided to get vaccinated and after talking to his family, friends and neighbors. He said he's not the only one.
“I think some people like to be cautious, they like to wait and see how things turn out sometimes," Dorsey said.
The zip codes with the lowest rates are in East and West Charlotte.
"It's not for lack of access," Harris said.
The county has been running a clinic at Bojangles Coliseum since January and Novant Health has its permanent clinic in East Charlotte too.
But it's clear, populations who have difficulties accessing healthcare even before the pandemic aren't getting vaccinated as quickly.
"Part of it is a lot of folks that live in those areas are essential workers so they're working during the hours of clinics so another reason for us to be doing weekends and evenings and those sorts of things which we're trying to do now," Harris said. "And then you've got the whole issue of vaccine hesitancy which we know is real."
The county is trying to make getting the shots more convenient, and meeting people where they are. Education is the real priority to try and help people make educated decisions around getting vaccinated.
"We will just have to continue to make sure that we are being as accessible as possible, that we are getting information out in all the best possible ways," she said.
Here's a list of Mecklenburg County zip codes and the percent of people 16 and up considered at least partially vaccinated in each county:
- 28031: 53%
- 28036: 53%
- 28078: 47%
- 28214: 32%
- 28216: 36%
- 28269: 37%
- 28262: 29%
- 28213: 28%
- 28206: 35%
- 28215: 31%
- 28208: 26%
- 28202: 52%
- 28203: 57%
- 28204: 68%
- 28207: 71%
- 28205: 42%
- 28212: 20%
- 28227: 37%
- 28278: 46%
- 28273: 32%
- 28217: 23%
- 28209: 53%
- 28211: 61%
- 28134: 43%
- 28210: 45%
- 28226: 56%
- 28270: 52%
- 28105: 44%
- 28277: 50%
The health department is now partnering with Action NC to put boots on the ground and go into businesses and door to door in those zip codes to find out what is keeping people from getting the shots.
"We're giving them the tools and then they're going and talking to the people they live within their communities and that's going to have a much better ability to help people feel comfortable with the vaccine," Harris said.
The data allows vaccine providers to hone in on where they need to be and who they need to reach.
"We're going where people need to get vaccinated now," Mike Estramonte, the CEO of StarMed said. "So opening up this clinic over here and making sure it was easy [to[ access seven days a week was going to be absolutely imperative on the east side where the vaccine rate is low."
Mecklenburg County views this approach as "meeting people where they are."
Starting at 9 a.m. Monday, Mecklenburg County opened a free vaccine event at the Simmons YMCA in east Charlotte. The event will be held right in the heart of Charlotte's least-vaccinated zip code.
Other community clinics this week include Faith CME Church on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled online.
On Friday, Catawba Brewing and Black Food Truck Friday will host community clinics. The separate events both start at 3 p.m. Click here for more information.