Dr. Cohen, Rev. Barber get COVID-19 vaccines

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, and the Rev. William Barber got their COVID-19 vaccines Friday at the PNC Arena mass vaccination clinic in Raleigh.

Both received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"We know it's on par with the other two in terms of preventing, particularly, the severe form of COVID that might end you up in the hospital or unfortunately taking someone's life," Cohen said. "So I was grateful to get it."

Barber said his daughter helped persuade him to get vaccinated.

"I have a daughter that graduated from Bennett College, UNC, and Harvard Public School of Health and she did the research, and she said, 'Look, Dad, this is good. This is good,'" Barber said.

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Cohen was glad that a one-shot option is now available for North Carolina's residents.

"One and done, right? I was grateful to have one shot," Cohen said. "We're done today, after this. And so, I recommend anyone gets the first vaccine that is available to you but Johnson and Johnson is a great option, particularly, for those who may only want to get one shot and could only take off one day work, right. There's a lot of advantages of getting the one-dose vaccine."

Barber said the J & J vaccine is more mobile and that will help get it to more people in the community.

"I'm going to work with everybody I can to get the services in the community," Barber said. "And that's one of the things that's good about this Johnson and Johnson. It's mobile. It doesn't have to be chilled at the same level. You can get it into the community and I guarantee you, you get in into the community and we close the disparity in delivering. You will close the disparity in vaccination."

Cohen said they've been focusing on getting vaccines out quickly, fairly and equitably.

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"I'm really proud and you can look at our numbers in North Carolina," Cohen said. "We can show the last four weeks, we've seen more than 20% of our vaccines have gone to those in the African-American community, which is great. We still have a lot of work to do for our Hispanic community."

State data shows Latinos make up less than 3 percent of COVID-19 vaccinations although accounting for about 10 percent of the population.

"This is not a situation where you can say, 'we're going to vaccinate the wealthy,'" Barber said. "We're going to vaccinate the middle class, but we're not going to do it to the poor and the least of these because the bottom line is either everybody gets out of this ditch, or nobody gets out of this."
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