The Durham County Health and Human Services building under construction in downtown Durham NC

To Your Health

Rod Jenkins, director of the Durham County Department of Public Health, reminds us to get that COVID-19 vaccination.

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Spring into Health: The Durham County Community Health Fair will be held on Thursday, May 12, 3–7pm, at 533 E Main St. Learn more about health issues including how to quit smoking, chronic diseases, opioid/substance abuse, diabetes, diet and exercise, nutrition, hypertension, hands-on CPR training, health screenings (colon, blood pressure, glucose), COVID-19 vaccination and testing, and more. Shop with a wide variety of vendors, enjoy some music, and receive free hot food, food boxes, and gift cards. This free event was made possible through partnerships made with Durham County, the Community Health Coalition, BlueCross BlueShield NC, LATIN-19, Legal Aid NC, Duke Health, DHFC (Duke Health & Fitness Center), UPOH (United Providers of Health), El Centro Hispano, the Durham Housing Authority, Durham TRY (Together for Resilient Youth), Durham’s Partnership for Children, the African-American COVID Task Force+, and Optum Rx.


The NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group is a free, peer-led support group for those age 18+ who are living with a mental illness. Group members will be able to share successes with each other and discuss challenges with the help of NAMI-trained facilitators. This month’s meetings will be held on Tuesdays, May 10 and 24, 7:30–9pm; click here to register in advance for this Zoom meeting.

NAMI Durham hosts an online Stress & Anxiety Support Group for African-Americans every Thursday from 7 to 9pm. Black people often push down their fears and problems because they’ve been told that seeking help is a sign of weakness. Lorraine Childs leads the weekly confidential discussions that encourage African-Americans to reach out and to realize that “You are not alone.” Share experiences without judgment, exchange tips, and gain access to helpful resources. Click here for more info; if you’d like to attend a meeting (on Zoom), click on “Calendar” and then click on the particular Thursday to register for that day’s meeting.

*   National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI Durham’s next Public Education Session will feature Quaniece Fish on Tuesday, May 3, 7–8pm. She will lead a discussion on the topic “How Mental Health Directly Impacts Career Success.” Fish, a young entrepreneur, has dealt with mental health challenges and will describe her personal coping methods and strategies for maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Click here for more info and to register for this free Zoom event.

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Emotional intelligence and support coach Nakikia Wilson and Dr Shana Williams, mental health clinical nurse, will continue their Mental Tea online conversations on Mondays at 8pm. Join this free conversation on Zoom by clicking here.


N95 face masks have been dispensed throughout the country, and Durham County has been tasked to help win the battle locally against the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can pick up two bags of five (total of 10 masks per household) at Durham County libraries’ front desks. They’re also being given away at OptumServe COVID-19 test locations (listed below under “Free COVID-19 tests”).


If your business or organization would like to dispense face masks, click here to put in your order; haga clic aquí para hacer su pedido en español.

Crowd with Masks
Image by Mick Haupt

COVID-19 vaccines

Image by Daniel Schludi


  • Durham County Department of Public Health (414 E Main St)—walk-ins on weekdays 9am–4pm (6pm on Tuesdays). No registration or ID is needed. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson 

  • Lincoln Community Health Center (1301 Fayetteville St)—walk-ins on weekdays 9–11am and 1–5pm. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson

  • Central Pharmacy (2609 N Duke St #103, 919-220-5121)—weekdays 9am–5:30pm, Saturdays 9am–noon. Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson

  • Durham Pharmacy (5826 Fayetteville Rd #105, 919-224-1234)—weekdays 9am–7pm, Saturdays 10am–2pm. Moderna and Pfizer

  • Gurley’s Pharmacy (114 W Main St, 919-688-8978)—weekdays 10am–3pm. Moderna and Pfizer

  • Harris Teeter (2107 Hillsborough Rd, 919-286-1500; 3457 Hillsborough Rd, 919-383-2249; 1501 Horton Rd, 919-471-1938; 1817 Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, 919-489-9887; 1802 N Pointe Dr, 919-220-5761; 5116 N Roxboro Rd, 919-471-6263; 1125 W Hwy 54 #310, 919-403-0794; 202 Hwy 54, 919-361-9893)—weekdays 9am–7pm, Saturdays 9am–5pm, Sundays 11am–5pm.

  • Hersey Pharmacy (4711 Hope Valley Rd, 919-346-4008)—weekdays 11am–4pm. Call for info on getting homebound individuals vaccinated. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson

  • Josef’s Pharmacy (3421 N Roxboro St, 919-680-1540)—weekdays 11am–4pm. Pfizer

  • Park West Pharmacy (4900 Hwy 55 #160, 984-219-6305)—weekdays 9am–6pm. Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson

  • Russell’s Pharmacy & Shoppe (2116 Angier Ave, 919-908-1060)—weekdays noon–6pm, Saturdays 9:30–11:30am. Pfizer and Moderna

  • Southpoint Pharmacy (6216 Fayetteville Rd #105, 919-908-0217)—weekdays 9am–6pm, Saturdays 10am–3pm. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson

  • Triangle Pharmacy at Ace Hardware (1700 E Hwy 54, 919-544-1711)—Tuesdays 2–5pm, Thursdays and Fridays 9am–3pm. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson

  • Walgreen’s (1505 Broad St, 919-286-4431; 710 Fayetteville St Durham, 919-530-8774; 6405 Fayetteville Rd, 919-544-6430; 3793 Guess Rd, 919-479-5156; 1821 Hillandale Rd, 919-383-9428; 1812 Holloway St, 919-682-9546; 200 N Lasalle St, 919-383-5591; 3905 N Roxboro St, 919-471-1534; 104 Sherron Rd, 919-227-3114; 1109 W Hwy 54, 919-403-8059)—weekdays 9am–9pm, Saturdays 9am–6pm, Sundays 10am–6pm. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson

  • Walmart (1525 Glenn School Rd, 919-688-3081; and 5450 New Hope Commons Dr, 919-489-4420)—weekdays 9am–7pm, Saturdays 9am–6pm, Sundays 10am–6pm. Moderna

  • Wheels Fun Park (715 N Hoover Rd)—Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 3–7pm. Pfizer.

Image by Mick Haupt

COVID-19 tests

You can now have COVID-19 tests sent to your home free of charge! The federal government has just launched a website that’s taking orders; you don’t have to pay for shipping or even give them your credit card number. It should take from a week to 12 days to get your tests via the US Postal Service. For now, there’s a limit of four tests per order to maximize the number of people served. Each order will consist of FDA-approved rapid-antigen tests.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you take a test five days after you believe you might have been exposed, or whenever you start experiencing symptoms (fever or chills, persistent coughs, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea). Go to to put in your order.


Here are a couple of phone numbers to call just in case you need a little help with your order or if you have questions: 800-232-0233  or 888-720-7489 (TTY). Free COVID-19 tests will continue to be offered at various local venues—they’re listed below.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has contracted with OPTUM Serve, LHI, and UnitedHealth Services to administer free COVID-19 tests. You don’t need to have your photo ID, and the tests can be taken by anyone age 1 and up. OptumServe promises to always have someone there who speaks Spanish. You don’t have to make an appointment, but if you’d like to make one anyway, click here.

Here’s the schedule for the current week:

​Monday, May 23

  • Fidelity Investments/RTP Campus (35 Davis Dr); 9am–4:30pm​

  • PEACH (800 N Mangum St); 10am–5pm

​Tuesday, May 24

  • Fidelity Investments/RTP Campus (35 Davis Dr); 9am–4:30pm​

  • PEACH (800 N Mangum St); 10am–4pm

  • ​​El Centro Hispano (2000 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 26A, in the Lakewood Shopping Center); 10am–5:30pm​​

    •           drive-thru  

​​​Wednesday, May 25

  • Fidelity Investments/RTP Campus (35 Davis Dr); 9am–4:30pm​​​​

  • El Centro Hispano (2000 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 26A, in the Lakewood Shopping Center); 10am–5:30pm

    • drive-thru​​​

Thursday, May 26

  • Fidelity Investments/RTP Campus (35 Davis Dr); 9am–4:30pm​​

  • Boys & Girls Club (1010 Martin Luther King Pkwy); 10am–4pm

  • El Centro Hispano (2000 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 26A, in the Lakewood Shopping Center); 10am–5:30pm 

    • drive-thru 

Friday, May 27 

  • Fidelity Investments/RTP Campus (35 Davis Dr); 9am–4:30pm​

  • El Centro Hispano (2000 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 26A, in the Lakewood Shopping Center); 10am–5:30pm 

    • drive-thru 

Saturday, May 28

  • El Centro Hispano (2000 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 26A, in the Lakewood Shopping Center); 10am–5:30pm

    • drive-thru 


Sunday, May 29

  • nothing scheduled.

Image by Tim Mossholder

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is offering the Hope4NC helpline for people needing mental-health support due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone can get free and confidential emotional support and helpful resources 24/7 via telephone, text, or chat. This service is also available in Spanish. The Hope4NC helpline number is 855-587-3463; click here for more info, to start a chat, send a text message, and to get help in Spanish.

Feel free to explore the NCDHHS’s COVID-19 website here for more resources and information on staying both physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic.


The LGBT Center of Raleigh will host the next Triangle Autism Discussion on Saturday, November 6, 4:30–6pm. Self- and professionally diagnosed people with autism are welcome to attend, as well as individuals in and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. This month’s topic will be Change. Visit the Facebook event page for more info, and click here to sign up and to attend this free Zoom event.


NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) has put together a thorough, handy, and useful COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide. We’ve all heard about the importance of washing our hands and cleaning surfaces and doorknobs, but NAMI goes beyond this and helps us deal with our feelings, doubts, and anxieties in a helpful and reassuring way. 

To make the guide easier to read, click on the double arrows in the upper right-hand corner

( >> ) and choose “Presentation Mode.”

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Formed by a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, NC State Bureau of Investigation, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina, and local law enforcement agencies, Operation Medicine Drop is an initiative that helps people safely dispose of expired and unused medications. A common practice is to flush them down the toilet, but that poisons the waters and endangers wildlife. Simply tossing them in the trash is also a bad idea. Someone could come along, fish them out, and use them as recreational drugs. Many overdoses and other drug-related problems happen because someone didn’t get rid of over-the-counter medications properly.

Operation Medicine Drop provides safe dropoff points for those who want to get rid of their old medications easily and safely. Here are the Durham County locations:

  • Durham County Justice Center (510 S Dillard St, in the lobby, 919-560-0854)—weekdays 8:15am–5pm

  • Durham County Sheriff’s Office, North Station (11821 US Hwy 501 N, in Rougemont, 919-560-0930)—weekdays 8am–4:30pm

  • Durham District 2 Police Substation (5285 N Roxboro Rd)—weekdays 8am–5pm

  • Durham District 3 Police Substation (#8 Consultant Pl, Shannon Rd near MLK Pkwy)—weekdays 8am–5pm

  • Durham Police Department Headquarters (602 E Main St)—anytime (24/7).

Click here for more info.


The American Red Cross will host the following pop-up Blood Drives. (Blood/platelets can also be donated just about every day at the American Red Cross office (4737 University Dr).) Click here for more info and to set an appointment.

​Tuesday, May 17

  • The Frontier (800 Park Offices Dr), 10am–3:30pm

Thursday, May 19

  • Clements Funeral and Cremation Services (1105 Broad St); 10am–3pm

  • Cole Mill Road Church of Christ (1617 Cole Mill Rd), 1–6pm

  • Mt Sylvan United Methodist Church (5731 N Roxboro Rd); 1–6pm

  • Rose of Sharon Baptist Church (4109 Guess Rd); 2:30–7pm

Friday, May 20

  • Boys and Girls Club (1010 Martin Luther King Pkwy); 10–11am; hosted by Durham Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Saturday, May 21

  • Bull City Family Medicine and Pediatrics (4003 N Roxboro Rd), 9am–3pm

Monday, May 23

  • Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill (4011 Pickett Rd), 1–6pm

Tuesday, May 24

  • Grace Lutheran Church (824 N Buchanan Blvd); 1–5:30pm

Tuesday, May 31

  • West Union Building (120 Science Dr); 11:30am–5pm.

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The Blood Connection hosts mobile Blood Drives throughout Durham. Here’s a partial schedule of the pop-up locations (in the most public spaces). Click here to see the full list of locations and dates:

Thursday, May 19

  • Durham County Courthouse (510 S Dillard St), 9:30am–1pm

  • Sprouts (105 W Hwy 54), 11am–1pm

Sunday, May 22

  • Jewish for Good (1937 W Cornwallis Rd), 11:30am–4pm

Tuesday, May 24

  • Northern High School (117 Tom Wilkinson Rd), 10am–3pm

Wednesday, May 25

  • Durham VA Medical Center (508 Fulton St), 11am–3pm

Saturday, May 28

  • ZAFA Temple #176 (2312 S Alston Ave), 10am–1pm

  • Kohl’s (5241 McFarland Rd), 3–6:30pm

Sunday, May 29

  • All Saints Church/Five Oaks Seventh-Day Adventist Church (4124 Farrington Rd), 11am–4pm

  • Duke Health Technology Solutions–RTP (14 Moore Dr), 10am–1:30pm

Monday, May 30

  • Belk (6910 Fayetteville Rd, in the Streets at Southpoint), 11am–2:30pm

  • O2 Fitness–University Hill (3103 Shannon Rd), 4:30–7:30pm.

Click the graphic and add

your ZIP code to find out.

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The National Library Service in Washington DC, in cooperation with libraries across the country, hosts the That All May Read program. People with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that keeps them from reading or holding a book can have braille or audio books delivered to them free of charge. You can choose physical books or free downloads. Click here to get started.


211 E Six Forks Rd, Suite 103, Raleigh,


The North Carolina Reading Service is a free service helps blind and visually impaired people keep up with the news and entertainment worlds. Volunteers read local news stories, editorials, obituaries, books, and advertisements from a variety of publications. They also read special programs that discuss specific topics like education, tech tips, and legal matters. Users can then listen via their smartphone and tablet apps, the NCRS website, or with any “Alexa”-enabled device.

Listeners who don’t have internet access can borrow specially tuned receivers free of charge. Donations to NCRS help cover the average price of $70 per receiver, and some listeners make donations if they’re able to. Click here to see the various ways of enjoying the broadcasts and to see the list of podcasts included with the service. Visit the website if you’d like to make a monetary donation or if you’d like to be a volunteer reader.


​Hersey Pharmacy (4711 Hope Valley Rd, in the Woodcroft Shopping Center) offers free vitamins for kids, adults, and seniors. Stop by and sign up for your 30-day supply; you can pick up free vitamins every month. Call 919-346-4008  for more info.


4206 N Roxboro St, Suite 100, 919-748-1022, website:

Project Access connects people who don’t have health insurance with medical services that are affordable or free of charge. Their HELP (Health Equipment Loan Program) helps uninsured medical patients gain access to medical equipment that they couldn’t otherwise afford. (Even people under Medicaid or Medicare can only qualify for certain equipment once every five years.)


If you any have walkers, wheelchairs, bedside commodes, canes, knee-scooters, reachers (pickup or grabber sticks), and tub-transfer benches, it would be greatly appreciated if you can donate them on a Tuesday (10am–2pm) or a Friday (1–5pm). Everything will be sanitized and repaired if necessary so they can be loaned out to people in need. Visit the website or call and ask for the manager, Amy Armstrong, for more info.


This is a media briefing on how to work on overcoming reluctance to mask up, distance, and vaccinate by experts from Duke University.