Community activist urges people to make informed decision about COVID vaccine

CHARLOTTE — Community advocate James Lee wants to make sure the momentum to educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t stop because less than half of Mecklenburg county’s population vaccinated.

“What we want to do and provide is information, solid information, from people who they trust,” Lee said.

He’s helping to organize a series of community events starting where he grew up in the Grier Heights area to help people make informed decisions. The first event will be held July 24 with more to come in various neighborhoods through the fall.

[North Carolina remains near bottom in COVID-19 vaccinations]

Lee said they want to make sure they are reaching everyone.

“Our concern has always been how do we get it to those last folks, at that last house on the street that need to get that information?” he said.

And even though many people are starting to return to their pre-COVID-19 lives, the highly contagious Delta variant is picking up steam.

“I saw this morning that it’s believed that the Delta variant now represents 40% of cases within the U.S. and that number is climbing,” said Dr. David Priest, Novant Health’s chief safety, quality and epidemiology officer. “The longer it takes to get immunity in a lot of people, the fewer people that are vaccinated, the more likely these variants are to arise. So I won’t be surprised if there’s Delta-plus and Delta-plus-plus and then moving down the Greek alphabet. So again, we’re encouraging people to get vaccinated.”

Priest said that moving forward, he’s hopeful full approval from the Federal Drug and Administration will drive more people to get their shot and prevent what he fears could happen.

“What I hope doesn’t happen, and I think it will in some places, is the only way that some individuals will be motivated to get vaccinated is if they have a personal tragedy,” the doctor said.