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Vaccination center in Greensboro to administer 3,000 daily vaccines

By Bryan Anderson, Associated Press/Report for America

The White House announced Friday morning that it will include North Carolina in its federal pilot program of community vaccination centers. Starting March 10, a Greensboro site will receive about 3,000 vaccines per day.

The timing aligns with Gov. Roy Cooper’s expansion of vaccine eligibility to frontline essential workers. Teachers, child care workers and school staff were made eligible last week, while a far more sweeping group of workers ranging from grocery store clerks to elected officials can start getting their COVID-19 shots the day the clinic in Greensboro launches.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will support the site at the Four Seasons Town Centre. The three-story shopping mall in Greensboro will have options for the vaccines to be administered through a drive-through in the parking lot or in person inside a space formerly occupied by Dillard’s department store.

“This federally supported vaccine center will help North Carolina get more shots in arms and assist us in reaching more underserved communities,” Cooper said in a statement.

The Democratic governor said appointments will be required, with more information on how to book them being released in the coming days. The 3,000 daily shots administered in Greensboro will come in addition to the state’s weekly allocation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cooper noted Guilford County was chosen for the pilot because of its sizable share of underserved and marginalized populations. His administration has previously come under scrutiny for redistributing doses away from Greensboro in favor of large vaccination clinics in Charlotte in January. Events hosted at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Carolina Panthers football stadium allowed tens of thousands of people to get vaccinated.

But some found the push for speed came at the expense of equity. Cone Health, a private healthcare system in Greensboro, saw an unexpected shortfall that prompted it to reschedule about 10,000 appointments. Cooper and the state’s top public health official, Dr. Mandy Cohen, have since implemented a plan setting aside a share of North Carolina’s weekly allotment to ensure racial, ethnic and geographic equity us better maintained.

“Thousands of North Carolinians will be able to access vaccines as result of this local, state, and federal partnership,” Cohen said in a statement. “We appreciate everyone working together to focus on getting vaccines to our underserved communities.”

The main vaccination center at Four Seasons Town Centre will support additional sites and mobile clinics in communities of need in Guilford County and neighboring areas to help serve marginalized groups.

The White House’s announcement on Friday follows the launch of other pilot community vaccination clinics across the country. Two sites opened in California on Feb. 16 administered over 90,000 shots. Five other sites, including three in Texas and two in New York, opened federal pilot sites last week. Centers in Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois and North Carolina will open in the coming weeks.

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