North Carolina A&T State University and North Carolina Central University are battling for a good cause after agreeing to have a COVID-19 vaccination contest! The two universities will have until September to try and vaccinate the most amount of people on their campuses. Learn all about the contest and what’s at stake in the WFNY News article by Chris Venzon below.

Credit: Kevin L. Dorsey

Two long-time rivals are putting aside their differences to fight a mutual enemy: COVID-19.

North Carolina A&T University and North Carolina Central University, two schools that have long competed against one another, are adding a new layer to the rivalry. From July 1 to Sept. 17, the schools have challenged each other to encourage faculty, staff and students to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The school with the most vaccinations in that time frame will be awarded a trophy at the Sept. 25 Aggie-Eagles football game.

The initiative is aimed at boosting vaccination rates at the universities as the Black demographic has lagged behind in-state vaccination rates since the vaccine became available, North Carolina health department studies show. Since May, more than 99% of new cases in North Carolina have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated, NCDHHS officials said.

“The health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is of utmost importance to us. We continue to educate our campus community about the vaccine, and were among the first constituent universities in the UNC System to establish a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for the North Carolina A&T campus and surrounding community,” said A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

North Carolina ranks 12th-lowest in the nation in the number of vaccines administered per capita. Less than half of North Carolinians eligible for a COVID-19 shot are fully vaccinated, despite the presence of more than 2.1 million doses waiting on shelves for residents to take, according to data from the CDC.