COVID-19 vaccinations and maternal health were on the mind of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who recently toured the Goodwill campus of the Charlotte Community Health Clinic (CCHC) in North Carolina, along with U.S. Rep Alma Adams, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and community health leaders. The importance of vaccinations against COVID is a key topic, as there has been an uptick in infections in the Tar Heel state. Among those 18 or older in North Carolina, 56% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That rate hovered around 55% throughout June, according to published reports. More than 99 percent of the new cases of COVID since May are among people who are not vaccinated.
Secretary Becerra also hosted a roundtable on the importance of investing in Black maternal health with North Carolina DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, State Senator Natalie Murdock, Dr. Pam Oliver, and over 20 stakeholders from across the Carolinas.
“Charlotte Community Health Clinic (CCHC) was grateful and honored to host Secretary Becerra this week. The recent ARPA and ARP-Capital funding from HRSA will enable our health center to expand access to COVID vaccinations and testing,” said Carolyn C. Allison, CEO of Charlotte Community Health Clinic, Inc. “CCHC also plans to use the funding to open three clinical sites and purchase a mobile dental clinic to serve residents living in high-need communities in Charlotte, North Carolina.”
Our friends at the North Carolina Community Health Care Association (NCCHCA) were also on hand during the Secretary’s visit. CEO Chris Shank said, “We were glad to welcome Secretary Becerra at our member site Charlotte Community Health Clinic and show him all the ways that North Carolina’s Community Health Centers continue to act as trusted partners for improving outcomes for historically marginalized populations including mothers and babies, providing excellent primary care and COVID-19 testing and vaccination to every patient who wants it, regardless of insurance status.”
Rep. Adams, who toured the center with Secretary Becerra, is a longtime advocate for maternal health and has introduced legislation in Congress to address the rate of maternal deaths among Black women, called the “Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act.
“Our country’s maternal health crisis – the worst in the developed world – is taking mothers away from their children at an alarming rate, and traumatizing the tens of thousands of parents who experience close calls before, during, and after delivering their children. I am proud to stand side by side with Secretary Becerra and President Biden in this fight,” she said in a press release.