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Novant vaccine clinic targets underserved communities

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Michael Carethers knows that health conditions in the African-American community make him more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.

That’s why he was proud to be among those to receive the first dose Pfizer vaccine last week in a clinic sponsored by Novant Health at the Davie Family YMCA. Some 700 doses were administered, targeting undeserved communities.

“I’m happy to come in and get my shot,” he said. “I’m ready to get to a new world and ready for everybody else to get vaccinated so we can all go out and be safe.

“I see getting the shot as an opportunity to get to go on vacation, to being able to go out to dinner and being able to enjoy time with family and friends,” Carethers said. “I know we have these health conditions and getting the shot makes us safe.”

Frank and Karen Moyniham went together to get their shots. They’ve done just about everything together for their 36 years of marriage. They have five daughters, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“We want to make sure that we are around for them and continue to have dinner together on Sundays,” Karen Moyniham said. “If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be around to enjoy our kids.”

Petra Flores was excited to get a vaccine, and encourages her fellow Hispanic Americans to do the same.

“I really encourage everybody who has the chance to get it. Please do it,” she said. “Do it for your parents. we need to stop this virus, and the only way I see it happening is with this vaccine. Please, please, please believe in the science and get the vaccine.”

Volunteers helped Novant staff administer the vaccine, and it was a rewarding experience for them, as well.

Deb Pozebanchuk said the Novant staff was friendly, open and professional. She noticed that many of those coming in for a shot were nervous.

“It’s wonderful how these volunteers and staff have touched these lives,” she said. “It’s truly uplifting. It’s a good experience. It’s not anything to be afraid of.

“I am so looking forward to everbody being vaccinated and the doors open back up,” Pozebanchuk said. “We can finally get back to our churches, to our regular volunteering, and we can get back to socializing, to being on the street to wave, converse and talk to our friends and neighbors, to strangers.

“It’s going to be wonderful to get back to normal,” she said. “If I can help make somebody comfortable, then I’ve done my job,” she said.

Novant Health also had a mobile mammography unit on-site to provide approximately 30 prescheduled mammogram screenings for patients.

This is the first vaccination event held at a YMCA of Northwest North Carolina location so far, and another example of the organizations joining together to serve the needs of the community during the ongoing pandemic.

“As we begin to make strides as a nation and community against the virus, the Y is proud to partner with Novant Health to help in their efforts to distribute vaccines to the public,” said Stan Law, president and CEO of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina.

“We are excited to partner with the Davie Family YMCA to host this outreach event,” said Laura Holby, director of community engagement at Novant Health. “While COVID-19 has created many new challenges, it has also brought out the best in our community partnerships, as we work together to meet patients where they are and put an end to this pandemic.”