FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — President Joe Biden set a goal to have 70 percent of adults in our country at least partially vaccinated by July 4. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen said last month, that in order to lift the mask mandate on June 1, two-thirds of North Carolinians would need their first shot.
But what's the probability here? Triad Public Health Directors Joshua Swift of Forsyth County, and Trey Wright of Rockingham County, weigh in on how they're working to reach more people.
The state says nearly half of North Carolina adults are at least partially vaccinated. But it varies county by county - often falling far below the average. And, it doesn't help that vaccination rates are dropping statewide. Now, Triad health directors are shifting focus to accelerate the process.
"We've got to decrease hesitancy by education, and seeing your friends, family, and coworkers that have gotten the vaccine and are doing well, but it's also increasing urgency," Swift said.
Moving from mass vaccination sites, to smaller clinics; from appointment only, to walk-ups and more flexible hours; plus, even more unique community events. All this is an effort to make getting a shot as easy and convenient as possible, according to Swift.
"We're also looking by census tract - we can see the areas that are least vaccinated in the county," he said. "And we can focus on those areas specifically by doing outreach - going into those areas and meeting people where they are."
In Rockingham County, Wright says their efforts are similar as vaccinations slow, with plans to host more events - on days and at times that work for the people who need their shot.
"Instead of having the folks come to us when, I hate to say - it's convenient for us - what barriers can we eliminate?" Wright said.
Wright said they're also sending out more fliers and forms to reach the younger population.
Both Swift and Wright say their departments have their work cut out for them, with doubts about reaching the state's lofty vaccination goals any time soon.
"I want to see people's faces again," Wright said. "It's going to be a tough road to get to two-thirds, even more so three-quarters, but it can be done."
"You know, it's affected all of us in some way, and if we want to get back to normal...we're going to need to get more and more people vaccinated to keep this under control," Swift said.