Local News

Racial gaps exist in NC's vaccination rate

Posted September 15, 2021 8:30 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2021 8:52 p.m. EDT

— Vaccination rates vary widely in North Carolina among different racial and ethnic groups, according to state data.

Durham County ranks among the five most-vaccinated counties in the state, with 65.2 percent of its residents at least partially vaccinated. But some residents just aren’t as interested in getting their shots as others. Black residents account for nearly 40 percent of the county's population, for example, but only 28 percent of those who have been vaccinated there, data show.

"What we found is that, when you bring the vaccines directly to the doorsteps of our community members, they're much more likely to decide to get the vaccination," said Donald Hughes, program coordinator for We Are Ready for Life, a nonprofit that aims to improve living conditions and economic opportunities in underserved communities.

WAR4Life conducted a mobile vaccination clinic last weekend where 5 percent of all vaccinations administered in Durham County last week were done. Aside from enhancing geographical access, Hughes said that having a health care provider on hand to answer questions has been effective in breaking down hesitancy.

"We take our mobile units across the state but right into the hearts of communities that need more access to vaccine and need access to doctors that look like them that can provide them with the right information that ultimately will help them make the decision to get vaccinated for themselves and for their families."

Durham County isn’t an outlier when it comes to racial gaps in vaccinations,

While 64 percent of the state’s Asian and Pacific Islander population has gotten at least one shot, only 27 percent of the Native American population has. Less than half of white, Black and Latino residents have gotten their shots – 48, 42 and 47 percent, respectively.

Overall, 52 percent of North Carolina residents are fully vaccinated, with another 4 percent having one vaccine dose.

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