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'Not the spike that we saw in Ohio' | No major COVID-19 vaccine spike seen in Mecklenburg County despite lottery

State health officials say between April and the end of May, there were about 80,000 positive COVID-19 cases in NC -- 99.3% of those people weren't vaccinated.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Wednesday morning, a very lucky and vaccinated North Carolinian will be $1 million richer. The first of the lottery program's drawings will happen at 10 a.m.

But despite the fact the state lottery was announced nearly two weeks ago, it hasn't made many roll up their sleeves to get the vaccine in Mecklenburg County.

RELATED: Are you eligible to win $1 million in the NC COVID-19 vaccine lottery?

The lottery drawing comes as Mecklenburg County faces another tough disparity, and Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris says the big prize doesn't seem to be helping.

"The things that we're watching right now -- the Delta variant," Harris said. 

Harris is now warning minority communities to get vaccinated before the county experiences another surge.

"One of the concerns about the Delta variant is that we might see a resurgence on the fall," Harris said.

With only 31% of African Americans in the county having just one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, county commissioners are deeply concerned.

"That means that the Delta variant will wreak havoc on the African American community if they don't get vaccinated," Mecklenburg County Commissioner and Chairman George Dunlap said.

Health officials hoped the state's vaccine lottery would encourage anyone who hasn't gotten a shot to get one, but data shows that's not the case. 

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"Not a huge difference," Harris said. "Not the spike that we saw in Ohio when they announced it."

Harris believes it's because not many know the drawing is happening.

"I think when that first one gets pulled and $1 million comes out and people find there's three more, maybe that'll make a difference," she said.

It won't be that grand of a show Wednesday. State health officials say after the drawing, they will still have to verify the person is eligible to win and wants the money before they name the winner. That could take days.

RELATED: How will I know if I won the NC vaccine lottery?

But Harris says regardless, Mecklenburg County health officials will need to change their efforts in getting people vaccinated.

"We may have to change our messaging a little bit and get a little more direct," she said. "We've actually ordered a small van so we can do pop-up clinics."

State health officials say between April and the end of May, there were about 80,000 positive COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. Of that, 99.3% of those people were not vaccinated.

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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