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WCU partners with Vecinos in getting COVID-19 vaccines to underserved communities

By Brian MullenVecinos Clinic 1


On Sunday, March 21, Western Carolina University and Vecinos partnered to vaccinate 100 farmworkers in Western North Carolina against the COVID-19 virus. After helping Jackson County Department of Public Health clear its backlog of individuals waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, WCU’s vaccine clinic continues to serve the larger Western North Carolina region.

Vecinos Clinic 2


“This particular drive was focused on continued outreach to historically marginalized populations, specifically seasonal farmworkers in our region,” said Cortnee Lingerfelt, director of WCU’s regional COVID-19 vaccine clinic. “The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was injected to all participants.”

Vecinos is a nonprofit health care organization that provides services to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers and their families in the eight western-most counties of North Carolina, as well as communities in Buncombe County and Rabun County, Georgia, with its core mission to improving the lives of farmworkers.

“Agricultural work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country and workers face many barriers when it comes to accessing care,” said Megan Padilla, RN practice manager at Vecinos. “In our effort to improve the wellness of farmworkers and their families with health care, education, community partnerships and advocacy, we are grateful for WCU’s partnership to further help break down health care barriers by making the COVID-19 vaccine available to them.”

Vecinos Clinic 3


The WCU clinic is accepting appointments in compliance with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, which are currently focused on Groups 1, 2 and 3, and the first phase of Group 4.

The clinic is operating out of WCU’s Health and Human Sciences building, located at 3971 Little Savannah Rd. in Cullowhee, and vaccines are available by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, or for more information, visit

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