GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported as of Wednesday, nearly 50% of adults received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes as President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a new goal to have 70% of adults partially vaccinated by July 4.
In Pitt County, at least 30% of adults are partially vaccinated, according to health director Dr. John Silvernail on Wednesday.
In an effort to give more people the opportunity to get the vaccine, especially in areas that are harder to reach, the health department has held pop-up clinics and gone door-to-door to meet goals.
“Some of our outlying communities, Grifton, Farmville, and get over in the East side of the county … Stokes, some of those areas,” Silvernail said.
For Pastor Rodney Coles, who founded Churches Outreach Network, testing is just as important as getting vaccinated; he manages a distribution site where Pitt County residents can pick up free, at-home COVID-19 test kits that instructs users to test three times per week.
Pitt County is the first jurisdiction in the nation to participate in the program, “Say Yes! Covid Test.”
“My focus right now is to help people stop spreading this disease that’s going around and if you could just test yourself before you go home,” Coles said. “There’s an old saying, “Don’t leave home without an American Express card, don’t go home without a home kit.””
More than 18,000 test kits were distributed in Pitt County as of Tuesday.
“The study is if we identify that transmission or that case in the household, can we prevent that case from spreading within the house to other people who live in the household and then keep them from going out and giving it to other people in the community?” Silvernail said.
While Pres. Biden’s vaccine goal includes younger adults, Pitt County said the 25-49 age group is ahead in getting the vaccine based on the percentage of population.
“They are the largest percent of our cases so I think that’s a good thing,” Silvernail said.
He added we have not reached “herd immunity,” which starts at 66%, about two-thirds of the population being immune, according to Silvernail, but calculated what it could look like.
“If we’re 28% of our county is fully immune from vaccination and we got 10% of our population at some degree of immunity from the disease, then we’re about 38%, maybe about halfway to what would give us herd immunity,” Silvernail said. “I think if you’ve got two out of three people that are immune, that’s really gonna limit transmission. It’s not going to prevent it completely but it’s really gonna limit transmission in our community, and that’s probably the number we need to shoot for.”
Although demand for the vaccine is down in Pitt County, the health department’s efforts are also for vaccine equity.
They’re a little behind in reaching Latinx and African American communities but the numbers are better than before, according to Silvernail.
“In percentages, the bigger the group, the smaller each number is as a percentage of that group,” Silvernail said.
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