Guilford County health department to rollout mobile vaccination units

As vaccination appointments begin to open up for more individuals across the state, the Guilford County Department of Public Health is preparing to deliver mobile vaccinations.

Dr. Iulia Vann shared that the health department is slated to receive a van on May 15, which will be retrofitted to carry and administer vaccines to the community.

“We have a variety of options on how we can utilize the van. We can work with organizations and park the van at a community center or church. We can also take it to a park or neighborhood to offer vaccinations. The bottom line is that we will be able to be mobile and meet people where they are and remove some of those barriers our community members are experiencing,” said Dr. Vann, adding that it’s important that the health department continue to be innovative in its ideas to address the healthcare needs of the community.

On Wednesday, April 7, North Carolina will allow any person age 16 and older, regardless of medical conditions or living situation, to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination as part of the Group 5 rollout. Parental consent is not required; however, healthcare leaders encourage guardians to accompany minors.

According to North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, 25 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 38 percent is at least partially vaccinated.

While healthcare leaders note that the number of positive cases has reached a plateau – partly due to vaccinations – they are still waiting to see data from the past Easter holiday.

“One of the things we discussed is around the data and what we’re seeing in different metrics. Even though we had plateaued in cases, we’re looking to see what new cases we’re going to see directly from Spring Break and Easter. We are anticipating seeing a slight spike in cases,” said Dr. Vann, adding, “We want to focus on vaccines and make sure they are easily accessible.”

Guilford County continues to receive an average of 4,500 doses of vaccines every week that they distribute to various providers. There are currently 65 approved vaccine providers in Guilford County, including a few locally owned pharmacies.

According to Don Campbell, Guilford County Emergency Management Director, Guilford County has administered a total of 83,537 doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far, while 116,588 Guilford County residents or 27.1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

“We still have appointments available. There is plenty of vaccines here available to the Triad,” Campbell noted.

On Tuesday, the DHHS announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) awarded the state with more than $94 million for COVID-19 vaccination programs to help vaccinate population groups that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In total, the CDC awarded $3 billion to 64 local jurisdictions nationwide to create greater vaccine accessibility.

Despite the amount of people getting vaccinated, Vann shared there are segments of the population, particularly in communities of color, who are hesitant about the vaccine. She noted that the health department’s partnerships with local universities, culturally-based organizations and churches will help to tailor the message about the vaccine.

“There are reports that some groups are still hesitant to take the vaccine. So, we are doing a variety of efforts like our mobile unit, so that we are addressing all their concerns in the right manner,” she said.

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