RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Black and Latino people in North Carolina have gotten COVID-19 vaccines at rates outperforming their share of the population during the week since Gov. Roy Cooper announced a lottery incentive for getting the shots, a CBS17.com data analysis found.
A total of 45,395 people received their first doses since June 10, when Cooper said the state would hold drawings for four $1 million cash prizes and four $125,000 scholarships for children between 12 and 17.
The total number of people getting their first shots were 10 percent higher than it was a week earlier, though that rise has slowed. But North Carolina’s increase falls short of those seen in California and Ohio, whose 28 percent increase was cited by Cooper in his executive order announcing those vaccine jackpots.
With the first of those drawings coming in less than a week, CBS17.com looked at state Department of Health and Human Services demographic data to determine the profile of those getting their first doses.
Of course, it’s impossible to know for certain how many of those people were ultimately persuaded by the chance at a big payday.
“It’s not possible for us to gauge what impact incentives have played on Duke Health’s COVID vaccination numbers without conducting a survey of our vaccinated patient population to understand their motivations,” Duke Health said in a statement provided to CBS 17 News by Stephanie Lopez of the organization’s media relations team.
But Dr. Pia MacDonald, an epidemiologist at RTI International, says she sees “it has helped support in increasing vaccination with certain parts of the population.”
Especially some minorities whose vaccination rates to this point have failed to match their share of the population.
Black people accounted for 26 percent of the first doses over the past week given by the state’s providers. That exceeds their share of the population — 23 percent — and is far ahead of their overall rate. Black people account for just 17 percent of the state’s partial vaccinations.
And that rate for Latinos in the past week is nearly triple what their overall vaccination rate has been.
The ethnicity data for doses given by state providers shows Latinos — who account for 8 percent of all first doses — made up 21 percent of the ones given since June 10. Nearly 10 percent of North Carolina’s 10.5 million people are Latino.
While those groups have taken some steps forward over the past week, some others didn’t add as many shots to their total.
“It’s important also to look at groups that it has not impacted much,” MacDonald said. “So as we move forward with vaccine strategy, it’s important to do something like the lottery, see how it worked, and then move forward, knowing that it won’t work for everyone. It’s not a one-strategy-fits-all. We need multiple strategies for multiple parts of our communities.”
One thing does not appear to be a factor — geography.
While the state’s total number of first doses went up by 10 percent, no individual county saw an increase greater than 2.5 percent — and only three counties had gains of 2 percent or better.
Conversely, more than half of the state’s counties saw a rise of less than 1 percent.
“I think in reaching certain populations — for example, the Black communities — they live across North Carolina, just like everybody else,” MacDonald said. “So I think we’re not going to see a lot of geographic variation, necessarily, with a lottery, looking at the county level. Looking within counties, we might be able to see more variation.”
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