CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In Mecklenburg County, 49% of the population is partially vaccinated and 46% is fully vaccinated. The Health Department is hoping to get those numbers up with a new initiative called doses to doors.
Community outreach groups have been canvassing certain neighborhoods for a few months now, educating and encouraging people to get vaccinated. On Monday, health department workers armed with COVID-19 vaccines joined to make it easy and convenient to get a shot right at home.
“We get people that will say yes I’ll get the shot but the follow-up has always been the issue. Will they go? How can we get people to go out and go,” Robert Dawkins with Action NC said.
Action NC has knocked on 35,000 doors since May and health department officials say it has been a vital part in helping get more people vaccinated. Now, they are joining the efforts and staying close by with vaccines so they can offer the shots on demand.
“Now that the health department is actually coming out with us, we miss that middle step. Now, would you like to get a shot? Yes. We've got somebody right here on site,” Dawkins said.
In the first few hours of the new doses to doors program, 4 people in the Southside Homes off Tryon Street got vaccinated on their front porches.
"I haven't been vaccinated yet because I didn't have the convenience to get around to getting there,” a man who got the shot said. “It’s a little bit more flexibility for me now, I don’t have to worry about in the next 2 weeks who got the disease or who I may be around who has it.”
Dr. Meg Sullivan, Medical Director for Mecklenburg County, gave him his COVID-19 shot. Accessibility is still the main barrier to getting more people vaccinated. City and health leaders say this program helps to break that down.
“That eliminates any excuse. You don't have to drive anywhere and sit in line, you don’t have to have a vehicle, you don’t have to have an Uber. They are right here,” former city councilwoman LaWana Mayfield said as she helped Action NC.
The county is primarily focused on neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates and communities that are hesitant but have also been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“You’ll see the majority of the crew is African American or Latinx because it’s hard for people to find commonality in a subject if they don’t see themselves in it,” Dawkins said. “It’s not confrontational. It's not like you've got to get the shot but it’s our job to dispel those rumors."
This effort comes as cases slowly rise in the state.