North Carolina Leads in Equitable Vaccine Distribution, CDC MMWR Report Finds
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published findings this week in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) about North Carolina's progress in administering COVID-19 vaccine among Black and Hispanic communities.
The report analyzed the number of persons in North Carolina vaccinated during March 29 and April 6, 2021, comparing to December 14, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
According to the CDC, "the proportion who were Black nearly doubled, and the share of vaccine doses administered to Hispanic persons doubled during this period."
The MMWR references ten strategies recommended by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and Chief Deputy Secretary, Kody H. Kinsley, to promote equitable distribution of vaccines.
Secretary Cohen and Governor Cooper (D-NC) have been widely praised for strong leadership and transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic response, with Secretary Cohen receiving the 2020 Leadership in Public Health Practice Award from Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health for her remarkable commitment to the health and wellbeing of the people of North Carolina.
A press release from Harvard spoke highly of Dr. Cohen, saying, "Her strong leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic response, including her use of data and ability to communicate calmly and with empathy, compassion, and transparency, led many North Carolina citizens and elected officials to band together, such that the state has avoided any large surge in cases seen in other parts of the country."
Still, numbers of infections and hospitalizations continue to rise in North Carolina and much of the United States. Sequence analysis of circulating SARS-CoV-2 2019 suggest that variants of concern, along with vaccine hesitancy, are contributing to rising numbers, with the majority of infections occurring among unvaccinated people.
The best protection against severe disease is vaccination. WFDD 88.5 (North Carolina's charter NPR® member station), reported on the rising numbers and the Delta variant. In a recent segment by David Ford, Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert, urged the unvaccinated, saying, "now's the time."
For those who have been vaccinated, the CDC has published new guidance for resuming activities prior to the pandemic, available at When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC. Full interim guidance is available at Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People | CDC.
Read more about the CDC MMWR at COVID-19 Vaccine Administration, by Race and Ethnicity — North Carolina, December 14, 2020–April 6, 2021 | MMWR (cdc.gov).
Part of health disparities news and research reporting by North Carolina Health Equity Project, Inc. Image Credit: CDC on Unsplash. The views expressed by the authors of any cited publication(s) or external link(s) do not necessarily reflect the views of North Carolina Health Equity Project, Inc., nor are any affiliations or endorsements implied.
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