NCDHHS' latest vaccine numbers break down demographics, showing disparity in race, gender

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- For 93-year-old Lawson Snipes, a Fayetteville resident, getting his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was a major step into ensuring a longer life.

"I've got a lot of living to do, and I'm well into it already," Snipes said.

Snipes is one of more than 900,000 people who have received their first dose of the vaccine in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Here is the NCDHHS' statewide numbers for who has received the first dose by race:
  • 80% White
  • 13% Black or African American
  • 2% Hispanic
  • 3% Asian or Pacific Islander


Meanwhile in Wake County:
  • 76% White
  • 12% Black or African American
  • 3% Hispanic
  • 6% Asian or Pacific Islander


A trend also reflected in Cumberland County:
  • 59% White
  • 30% Black or African American
  • 3% Hispanic
  • 5% Asian or Pacific Islander


The new data revealing a disparity in who's getting the vaccine across the state. ABC11 spoke to Doctor Jennifer Green, the Health Director for the Cumberland County Department of Public Health, to hear her thoughts on the numbers.

"African Americans make up about 37 to 39 percent of our community... Hispanic members and Latin-X members of our community make up about 12 or 11 percent of our community. So, again, we'd like to see those percentages jump just a little bit," Green said.

The disparity extends beyond race with the state total and Cumberland County both showing a more than 20 percent gap when the numbers are broken down by gender with more women receiving the first dose.

The total state numbers look like this:

  • 60% Female
  • 39% Male


In Cumberland County:
  • 63% Female
  • 37% Male


Dr. Green attributes part of that gender gap to the current qualified groups. "Our public health and our health care workforce tends to be overly represented by nurses and health care providers that are female."

Another factor that Cumberland County health officials intend to look at is if gender is playing a role in people's hesitancy to get vaccinated.

Health experts say the gaps in race can also come down to the hesitancy that minority communities feel towards the safety or validity of a vaccine. Dr. Green says it's something they're addressing on a daily basis through marketing, education, and clinical sites that are easily accessible.

"Reaching to all of those communities, especially those that are underrepresented and thinking about why we may see some hesitancy and what information we can provide so that people are clear that it is a safe and effective vaccine," Green said.

Green says health officials will have to study this data and do their best to encourage those people, who are still waiting for their names to be called, to be ready when its their group's turn.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY'S EFFORTS SERVING MINORITY COMMUNITIES


Cape Fear Valley Health has vaccinated nearly 1,200 people over the course of two days. Now, health officials with the hospital are crediting ABC11 with boosting those numbers.

"I would have called somebody and got over here and got it. Got on the bus or something," said Ella Brown.

Once Ms. Ella Brown heard on the news this morning that a vaccination clinic opened near her home nothing could stand in the way. Not even the fact that she doesn't own a car. She immediately thought of her cousin Helen.

"I called her and asked if she'd bring me over here. She said sure I'll take you," said Brown.

It's day two inside the vaccination clinic at E.E. Smith High School.
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CFVH has vaccinated nearly 1,200 people over the course of two days. Now, health officials with the hospital are crediting ABC11 with boosting those numbers.



RELATED: Cape Fear Valley Health opens vaccination clinic in underserved community to target minorities

Health officials intentionally targeted this site as it is located in a historically African-American community.

As for unused doses, the president of Cape Fear Valley Hoke Hospital Dr. Roxie Wells said, "We don't want to take vaccines today and put them in the freezer and not use them. We want to get them in arms. We will vaccinate as many as we can today. If not, we will take them back to the health center and vaccinate from there."

She says, so far, the plan is to continue with more outreach efforts by targeting underserved communities.

In the meantime, Brown says officials made getting vaccinated easy. There was no wait and it helped that the nurse made her feel comfortable.

"I couldn't believe I got it that quick," said Brown. "I said you through? She said yes ma'am. Normally I don't like to get shots. so....thank you!"
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