East, Southeast Raleigh show to be most vulnerable with least access to COVID-19 vaccine


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Many vaccine providers are pushing to get doses to people in under-served areas, but they might not be the areas that’d first come to mind.

Although a lot of people think of rural areas when they think of a vaccine desert, there are a lot of them in East and Southeast Raleigh.

A map generated by data from the state shows the most vulnerable areas to COVID-19 along with the places with the least amount of access to the vaccine.

If you narrow in on the worst in each category, clusters mainly pop up in East and Southeast Raleigh.

In one of them is Josefs Pharmacy on New Bern Avenue.

“It’s not surprising,” said Jonathan Harward, pharmacy manager at Josefs Pharmacy.

Harward said a lot of people who live nearby don’t have access to the internet or transportation to get their shot.

He said their first surge of vaccine patients when they started appointments in March weren’t pharmacy regulars.

“Here in the last few weeks, it has kind of tapered off a little bit,” said Harward.

Staff allows people to schedule on the phone or walk-in, unlike some other pharmacies.

They vaccinate up to 100 people a day, but now the faces in their seats are more familiar ones.

“This is my pharmacy, I always come here for my medicine and everything,” said Sandra Hunter, who received her first dose on Friday.

Hunter waited to get her vaccine until she saw how others reacted.

She brought a friend with her to her appointment, who ended up getting his shot on the spot.

“He’s getting a shot because if you’re around me, you’re getting a shot. How about that?” said Hunter.

Other patients said they held off on the vaccine to beat the lines.

“I just wanted to get a shot with no waiting for anyone at all,” said Andrew Creech, who received his first dose Friday.

Health experts said it’s now a matter of making sure people know they can get their shot while making it as accessible as possible.

“If you can get it, let’s get it, and let’s get through this thing,” said Harward.

Harward also said they’re very cautious of wasting doses right now.

They’re hopeful supply will get to the point where they can open a vile for a customer who comes in for a shot, and not worry about wasting a few doses if no one else comes.

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