Governor Roy Cooper is calling on COVID-19 vaccine providers to take a more equitable approach to distribution. 

At a vaccine clinic at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro Thursday, the governor praised Guilford County for setting aside vaccine appointments for people of color. 

Guilford County reserves about 35% of weekly vaccine allocations for people from historically marginalized communities. Public Health Director Iulia Van says the number is reflective of the county's demographics. 

“From the very beginning, we realized that just opening these appointments and having a by chance approach is really not going to meet the needs of our community,” she says. ”So we knew that we needed to be intentional and deliberate in the way that we're doing this.”

Governor Cooper noted the state has been tracking vaccine administration by race since December. According to the state's data dashboard, black people account for 14% of the North Carolinians who have received vaccine first-doses, but represent about 22% of the state's population.

“In the first few weeks, it didn't look good,” Cooper said. “The last few weeks there's been a significant increase in communities of color receiving vaccine because of efforts like this one today.”

Cooper also praised the Biden administration's approach to the pandemic, saying vaccine distribution has become easier under its leadership.  

“The administration has listened to governors,” he said. “For example, we told them that instead of 24 to 48 hours predictability on how many vaccines we were going to be getting, we needed more time. They've laid it out for three weeks. This allows us to plan much, much better.” 

He said the administration has prioritized personal protective equipment and National Guard assistance. 

“Maybe the most important thing is we have elected leaders who are actually following what health officials say,” said Cooper. “You have elected leaders and officeholders who are wearing a mask and telling people that it is important and that this COVID-19 is real and that we have to take steps to curb the pandemic.”

The governor credited the Trump administration for supporting vaccine development and manufacturing. 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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