Northampton County Set Aside Vaccine Allocation

vaccine allocations

Please take the time to read this entire message.

As shared last week, for the next week three weeks the NC Department of Health and Human Services is using a new two-part allocation process, composed of a “baseline allocation” and a “set-aside allocation.” The “set-aside” doses of the state’s allocation are going to:

  • Counties with higher numbers of people 65 and older with low income, counties with higher numbers of historically marginalized populations 65 and older, and counties that received less doses per population in previous weeks.
  • New vaccine providers who will provide greater access to rural and underserved communities and those who can provide vaccine to long-term care facilities not participating in the federal program.
  • Community vaccination events geographically spread throughout the state. Decisions about events are based on equity, readiness and speed, and partnership.

Your county is receiving a portion of the “Set Aside” allocation to provide equitable access to the following specific population(s) notated below with X:

               ____High % 65+ Low Income

               __X__High % 65+ Black/African American

               ____High % 65+ American Indian/Native American

               ____High 65+ LatinX

The census tract(s) that caused your county to receive a Set Aside are: Census Tract 9203

Currently, your county overall vaccination breakdown is as follows:

33 % Black/African American

1 % American Indian/Native American

1 % LatinX

64 % White

You can expect to receive these additional allocations if the state’s allocation stays at or above 127,000 doses and individual providers continue to clear the shelves weekly for a total of three weeks including the current vaccine week.

The goal is to increase equitable access to vaccines. These extra doses should be used to intentionally reach and increase vaccinations in the focused population(s) identified above . Please partner with trusted partners in your vaccine efforts such as community faith groups, primary care practices, and civic organizations to reach historically marginalized populations.

We will provide a weekly overview of your county’s administration of vaccines by race and ethnicity. CVMS now has the capability for you to pull your own reports as well(see CVMS Provider Portal Reports User Guide).

Thank you in advance for your partnership in the NC Vaccine work!


Lead, Vaccine Case Management & Provider Support Team

Shannon Dowler, MD, FAAFP, CPE
Chief Medical Officer
NC Medicaid
Division of Health Benefits
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

Philosophy of Set Asides:

Recognizing that many elderly are low income across the state, and may lack resources to secure a vaccine appointment, an additional focus on vaccine allocation to communities with relatively high concentrations of people 65 and older who experience poverty will drive both vaccine access and equity. Further, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally impacted historically marginalized populations (HMP), intentionally partnering communities with relatively higher concentrations of HMP with trusted vaccine partners (such as FQHCs and RHCs) to receive additional vaccine allocations, will support vaccine confidence and positively impact vaccine equity.


Methodology of Set Asides:

  • The Office of Vital Statistics identified census tracts with the highest number of residents who met each the following criteria:
    1. Age 65+ AND Low Income
    2. Age 65+ AND black/African American
    3. Age 65+ AND LatinX,
    4. Age 65+ and American Indian/Native American
  • Because our vaccines are allocated by county, increases were assigned based on the county that the priority census tract was located in.
  • Counties received an additional 300 vaccine doses per each of the four criteria (outlined above) met, with a of 1,200 additional doses per county.
  • Within counties, providers who typically serve historically marginalized populations, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers, were prioritized to receive vaccine if they had the capacity to accept the vaccine. Additional partners were identified to optimize the county getting their full Set-Aside allocation.


Accountability of Set-Asides:

NCDHHS will monitor set-aside vaccines allocations to ensure the following principles are honored:

1) Speed: Vaccine is being given and recorded in the Vaccine Week it was allocated and arrived for administration, and

2) Equity: Vaccine is being given to the desired underserved populations, which will be demonstrated by a positive shift in their race/ethnicity percentage vaccinated.



Census Tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county or equivalent entity that are updated by local participants prior to each decennial census as part of the Census Bureau's Participant Statistical Areas Program. The primary purpose of census tracts is to provide a stable set of geographic units for the presentation of statistical data. For this analysis, a county with one or more top census tracks that feel into the designated natural break was included for a single Set Aside allocation for each category they occurred in.

Census tracts generally have a population size between 1,200 and 8,000 people, with an optimum size of 4,000 people. A census tract usually covers a contiguous area; however, the spatial size of census tracts varies widely depending on the density of settlement. Census tract boundaries are delineated with the intention of being maintained over a long time so that statistical comparisons can be made from census to census. Census tracts occasionally are split due to population growth or merged as a result of substantial population decline.

Natural Breaks are a statistical tool defined as method of manual data classification that seeks to partition data into classes based on natural groups in the data distribution. For this analysis, we selected the top natural break to identify the prioritized census tract, which translates to over the top quartile.