CHARLOTTE – Jose Ernesto Cribillero inched along in his SUV, patiently waiting for his first COVID-19 vaccination. The line in the parking lot at Movement School in east Charlotte wasn’t long and 20 minutes later, Cribillero had his shot and a message for the community.
“Do not be afraid to get vaccinated because it’s for the safety of all of us,” said Cribillero, a native of Peru. “More than anything, we have to be cognizant that this is a disease that’s killing too many people. I’m a vulnerable person, 65-years-old. I’m getting vaccinated so I won’t have to worry.”
The Novant Health Community Engagement team, through its mobile cruiser and in partnership with the Novant Health Medical Group, administered 50 vaccinations, which include members of our local Latino/Hispanic and Indian communities. . It was the first mobile event for the team, which plans to increase the number of vaccinations as more vaccines become available.
The Community Engagement team provides programs and services focused on achieving health equity by improving access to health care and promoting upward mobility in all communities, especially those that need it most.
Thursday’s drive-thru event allowed four people to receive their vaccinations simultaneously. There were two lines of cars, and each line had two nursing stations administering shots. Novant Health’s team flagged drivers into line, and afterward, toward the observation area where they parked and waited 15 or 30 minutes post-vaccination to make sure there were no medical complications following the shot.
“It is definitely a good feeling to see how happy people are,” said Laurie Griswell, a Novant Health Community Engagement planner. “It’s nice to see people’s reactions that they’re receiving the vaccine. Sometimes members of our Latino/Hispanic community feel l very isolated, so we wanted to reach out. We’re excited to be here. Today was the first for us, and we did 50 vaccinations. We hope next time it’s more.”
Parthik Shah and his aunt Urvashi Shah shared a ride as each received their first vaccination. The step was important to Parthik Shah, who works at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which remains a high-traffic location compared to most.
“I feel safe for myself now,” he said. “I can go out without worrying that I will catch COVID-19 right away. I can tell people at the airport that it is good to take the vaccine, to make things safer so more people can travel. I have seen doctors and nurses getting the vaccine. If they can take it and they’re safe, I know I’ll be safe.”