Mass vaccination events, like the recent untaking at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, hasten distribution but also come with a significant flaw. Deputy Health Secretary Benjamin Money says the events pose challenges for the state's mission of equitable distribution.
“You've got to go; you've got to have a car to get there,” Money said. “And guess what, you got to have gas in that car.”
In a recent virtual chat with State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, Reverend William Barber challenged the state to line up churches as vaccination sites to help balance those inequities. Money says the state is encouraging local health departments and providers to partner with community organizations like churches.
The first two people to be vaccinated there Saturday morning were Pastor Ronald Avery and his wife Addie Avery. Jeff Brown, the chairman of the Deacon Board at St. Matthew Baptist Church, said their event was a success, even though registering online was hard for some people.
“What made this so easy for them, not only because they had not been to church in a while, but the feeling they were coming home, and able to get the vaccination,” said Brown.
Brown says this sort of set up “works well,” because they made time and space to help those who could not register online.
Organizers say they had to turn away at least 100 people who just showed up, hoping to get a last-minute appointment.