Charlotte businesses partner with a goal to give 2 million vaccinations by summer

Charlotte businesses partner with a goal to give 2 million vaccinations by summer
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This story was last updated at 11:30 p.m. on January 14.

As part of two separate announcements Thursday, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the Spectrum Center will soon become coronavirus vaccination sites.

Atrium Health, Honeywell, Tepper Sports & Entertainment, and Charlotte Motor Speedway, along with state and local governments, announced plans to coordinate on an ambitious goal: To administer 1 million vaccines, accounting for about 10% of the population of North Carolina, by July 4.

  • The vaccinations will be for frontline workers as well as for the general public.
  • Participating businesses will help administer vaccines and provide logistics and operations support.

Novant Health announced it will open six mass vaccination distribution sites across the state, including at the Spectrum Center. Novant’s goal is to administer 1 million vaccines by April.

  • Novant says it’ll require a¬†weekly allocation of 95,000 doses from the NC DHHS.
  • The six Novant sites will cover 14 counties.

Why it matters: North Carolina lags behind other states when it comes to the pace of vaccination, despite recent efforts to quicken the process. So far, the state has administered 267,000 doses, or about 2.6% of the population, according to CDC data.

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  • Nationwide, 3.3% of the population has gotten a vaccine.
  • 2 million vaccines is the goal of these two partnerships together. There will be separate efforts to vaccinate elsewhere in the state.

The Charlotte vaccine announcement comes days after Gov. Cooper said that the state will have several mass vaccination sites opening to speed up the vaccine rollout.

What they’re saying: Panthers owner David Tepper said he hopes that Bank of America stadium’s participation can serve as a model for other venues.

  • “Getting vaccines in people’s arms as quickly and equitably as possible is a top priority for North Carolina,” Cooper said in a statement Thursday. “Partnerships with businesses, health providers and government like this can help get it done.”
  • “At the end of the day, our collective goal is to vaccinate as many people as quickly possible, leaving no dose unused and no community behind,” Novant CEO Carl Amato said in a statement.

Of note: The Atrium partnership picked the speedway because of its ability to handle drive-thru service. Drivers won’t have to get out of their cars, Atrium spokesman Dan Fogleman said. This effort will also include a TBD location in Winston-Salem.

  • They picked the stadium for its mass parking, location, and proximity to public transit.
  • “Each of these venues deal with thousands of fans during normal operations, so they already have the built in experience of handling mass quantities of people at a given time,” Fogleman added.

Over the last year, sports venues have played a role in civics and in public health.

  • Bank of America Stadium and Spectrum Center served as early voting sites.
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway began offering drive-thru coronavirus testing last fall.

It’s not yet clear when vaccinations will begin at these new sites.

Coronavirus testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Kevin McCarthy/Atrium Health)

Coronavirus testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Kevin McCarthy/Atrium Health)

Atrium patients on the first day of community vaccinations

Atrium patients on the first day of the hospital’s community vaccinations (courtesy of Atrium Health)

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