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UNC System President, Chancellor Martin Tour Vaccine Clinic

By Todd Simmons / 02/25/2021

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2021) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. hosted UNC System President Peter Hans on Thursday for an up-close-and-personal look at the university’s COVID vaccine clinic in its third day of expectation-exceeding performance. 

Hans, Martin and a group of UNC System administrative staff toured the clinic in North Carolina A&T’s Alumni Foundation Event Center as hundreds of individuals filed in to get the first of two Moderna vaccine shots. Over the course of the day, 325 vaccines were administered, raising to 1,186 the total number of shots given at the A&T clinic in its first three days.

The A&T clinic was the first of its kind to open among all 17 UNC System campuses. University leaders say it was particularly important to open quickly to help get more African Americans vaccinated. The Black community in North Carolina and around the nation continues to be the least vaccinated of all racial and ethnic groups and the most reticent to take the shot, owing in large part to the well-documented history of abuse of African Americans at the hands of medical researchers and health care providers.   

“I’ve heard some say in conversation that they don’t trust the science or that they don’t trust the process or health care providers because of the long-standing lack of people of color in health care and the Tuskegee Experiment and its impact in our community,” said Martin. “I understand that, I really do. But I also understand the science. I understand the research and the key ethical responsibilities of scientists … and the very rigorous process of testing drugs at the FDA.

“These drugs have been extensively tested. We’ve had scientists of color involved in developing the vaccine, trustworthy scientists. And I trust the science.”

Hans, the top administrative officer of the UNC System, took over as president seven months ago during some of the most difficult early days of the pandemic, with system campuses offering mostly online instruction to avoid spreading on-campus viral spread. With infection rates now significantly lower across the system and vaccines becoming available, Hans was enthusiastic that A&T’s effort and others like it will make 2021 a very different year.

“We are clearly moving in a much better direction, thanks to the leadership that A&T and other campuses are showing in preventive measures and now in vaccination,” said Hans.