New Hanover County Public Health Joins Various Attractions to Host Vaccine Awareness Events


WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Virus cases are on the decline, but with the circulation of COVID-19 variants, health officials are in a race to achieve herd immunity.

New Hanover County Public Health has partnered up in unlikely places and has no shortage of ideas to make it happen.

“I never thought that a million years from now we would have an aquarium vaccination event,” said Hap Fatzinger, director of the Fort Fisher NC aquarium.

The aquarium, however, is the last place people can take a photo. The attraction contacted the county to set up a clinic offering the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday, June 27, in exchange for a free voucher to visit the aquarium.

Since the vaccine’s launch, public health has partnered with nightclubs, breweries and businesses. There are already plans to bring the vaccination to places like the New Hanover County Courthouse.

“We don’t know what proportion of our unvaccinated population is because they don’t know how to navigate the system, as opposed to ‘I don’t want that shot. “If we can reduce the number of people who cannot navigate the system and give them the option to get vaccinated if they want to, that would be a great service that we can provide,” said the chief justice of the J Corpening District Court.

Health workers are planning to host a barber shop event in July at Maides Park and are putting the finishing touches on a mobile trailer that will allow them to host events in any neighborhood.

“We’re going to be prepared to go to places where it’s convenient and both to educate and get the vaccine,” said David Howard, New Hanover County director of public health. “The virus is still quite dangerous and we are seeing people in the younger age groups getting seriously ill and in the hospital because the variants can pose different and new problems.”

All with the goal of increasing New Hanover County from 50% to 70% of the general population vaccinated.

Howard, however, says they had no trouble coming up with ideas on how to achieve herd immunity and have received several calls from groups like the aquarium, hoping to guide our community out of troubled waters.

“Really, it’s about how can we work together, how can we support each other, how can we provide for our community together when our community needs it,” Fatzinger said.

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