To ensure equity in access to COVID-19 vaccines within underserved communities, Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health are partnering with National Urban League North Carolina affiliates Urban League of Central Carolinas and Winston-Salem Urban League to co-host vaccination events in Charlotte and Winston-Salem. The partnership is an extension of the Community Immunity For All collaborative, an effort to coordinate on-site vaccination events with local organizations reaching Black, African American, Hispanic and Latinx communities.
National Urban League North Carolina affiliates, Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health will co-host vaccination events for those eligible who may experience barriers to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The co-hosted events are possible thanks to grant funding received by the National Urban League to support vaccine distribution among underserved communities.
In addition to co-hosted vaccination events, the Urban League of Central Carolinas and Winston-Salem Urban League Young Professional Groups will serve as members of Atrium Health’s newly launched Community Vaccine Ambassador Program. Ambassadors will educate their networks of family, friends, coworkers and organizations about the vaccine and encourage community members to get vaccinated. The goal of Atrium Health’s Community Vaccine Ambassador Program is to help families be with each other again, get people back to work sooner, support schools in reopening and staying open, and build trust in the community around the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Reaching the communities of color that have been most devastated by COVID-19 is the most important challenge of the vaccine rollout,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of National Urban League. “We’re proud that our North Carolina affiliates are partnering with Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health on an initiative to deliver vital information from trusted messengers to positively impact the health and safety of Black and Latino North Carolinians.”
“Atrium Health and the National Urban League have a shared mission to improve the lives of African Americans and historically underserved groups by ensuring equitable access to achieve good health and well-being,” said Kinneil Coltman, DHA, senior vice president, chief community and social impact officer of Atrium Health and vice chair, board of directors at Urban League of Central Carolinas. “With the support of National Urban League’s North Carolina affiliates, together, we can save more lives by vaccinating underserved communities and those most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
“African American and underserved communities throughout the Charlotte region need access to vaccines to safely turn around the negative effects of COVID-19 from trusted partners,” said Teddy McDaniel, III, president and CEO of Urban League of Central Carolinas. “Frontline workers, educators of all types, seniors and people with higher risk medical conditions are now eligible to receive their vaccine. We are proud to partner with Atrium Health in hosting this timely event.”
“The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity is very excited to contribute to the partnership with the Urban League, Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health to assure COVID-19 vaccine uptake in communities that have been most impacted by the pandemic,” said Goldie S. Byrd, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, part of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “This partnership extends the yearlong work that that the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity has done to improve awareness, connect communities to resources and encourage vaccinations in the most vulnerable. Through this partnership, we will increase much-needed access to the vaccine that is sorely needed in the state of North Carolina.”
“The Winston-Salem Urban League is excited to partner with Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health to host our upcoming COVID-19 vaccine event,” said James H. Perry, J.D. president and CEO of Winston-Salem Urban League. “For more than a year, Black and Latino communities across North Carolina have suffered from COVID-19 transmission at a disproportionate rate. Our COVID-19 vaccination event is a sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Atrium Health’s Community Immunity For All collaborative brings roving vaccine units to underserved communities that, to date, have allowed for the vaccination of more than 9,000 community members at over 20 community host sites, including a variety of churches and organizations that serve African American and Hispanic populations. Communities of color represent nearly 75 percent of those vaccinated through Atrium Health’s roving vaccine clinic. Atrium Health has plans to scale its roving vaccine clinic capacity with the addition of two new mobile units arriving in spring 2021.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves, their families and their community. As larger portions of the population are vaccinated, the whole community becomes better protected. More information about Atrium Health’s vaccination plans for the public, including frequently asked questions and to schedule vaccine appointments, visit AtriumHealth.org/COVID19Vaccine.
For more information about Wake Forest Baptist's vaccination events in the Triad and to schedule vaccine appointments, visit WakeHealth.edu/Vaccine.
If interested in becoming an Atrium Health Community Vaccine Ambassador, email CommunityBenefit@AtriumHealth.org and include “Community Vaccine Ambassador Program” in the subject line.