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Event to be held to address COVID-19 vaccine myths in African-American community

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 6:10 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — On Tuesday, community leaders and medical experts will hold a virtual seminar to answer questions and clear up myths about the COVID-19 vaccine in the African American community.

As more and more people become vaccinated, health experts are trying to target those who are at a higher risk of receiving the coronavirus to better explain how the vaccine works.

The African American and Hispanic populations are two of the highest on the lists, according to the CDC.

Starting at 4 p.m., the seminar will have panelists speak on the concerns about the vaccine’s side effects, the challenges in receiving the vaccine and clear about some myths about it.

The event put together by Sentara Healthcare and Sentara RMH will host Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Governor Ralph Northam; Dr. Ebony Jade Hilton with Anesthesiology and Critical Care at UVA Medicine; James Colbert, a surgical tech at Sentara RMH Medical Center; Dana Beckton, Chief Diversity Officer for Sentara Health; Winnette Dickerson, a community representative; and Mayor Deanna Reed of the City of Harrisonburg.

Reed said in the Black community, there has been continued uncertainty with the vaccine due to the role African Americans played in the past with public health.

“You know I live around people who can still remember the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and that still lives in people’s minds, which was just a wicked example of experimentation on Black bodies,” Reed said.

The mayor of Harrisonburg said while last year the focus was on masking up, this year the focus is on getting more minorities registered to receive the vaccine.

Reed said a few weeks ago, she and other community leaders registered more than 100 people in the Northeast Neighborhood to receive the vaccine, and that this seminar will hopefully clear up questions many others may still have.

“The more people that we can get vaccinated and the more people that we can get to trust that this is what we need to do, then that’s how we’re going to conquer the pandemic. That’s how we’re going to get back to some time of normalcy,” Reed said.

You can be a part of Tuesday’s event by clicking here.

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