Lt. Governor Gilchrist hosts panel on COVID-19 Vaccine and communities of color

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:35 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) -“Although we account for 14 percent of the population in the state, we were representing 41 percent of the people who passed away,” said LT. Governor Garlin Gilchrist

Alarming statistics when it comes to COVID-19 and the Black community.

LT. Governor Garlin Gilchrist has been leading a task force to decrease those numbers.

Tuesday, Gilchrist hosted a panel of healthcare professionals to talk about how the release of the COVID-19 vaccine could help in that fight against the virus in communities of color.

“The data shows are safe, they are effective and are the tool that we have right now to end this pandemic. And what I’m concerned about that does not want that tool to not be accessible in black and brown communities that we already know has been hit hard. So we need to make sure that tool is available in our communities in the state of Michigan and are committed to get those vaccines out as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

But will communities of color get the vaccine? The panel recognized the need to reassure a community that may be historically distrustful of a government regulated vaccine.

“We are a nation that is capable of moving forward, it is impossible to do so without looking back. So you can’t talk about fear of vaccinations without talking about the causes of that fear,” said University of Connecticut Health’s Wizdom Powell.

“In the state of Michigan. It is, of course, to getting this vaccine out as quickly as possible, and bringing services to communities. Again not doing things to the community, but working in walking with the community,” said Khaldun.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Chairwoman of President Elect Biden’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force says they will have a partnership in the incoming administration.

“This is the exit ramp for the pandemic, is our vaccine. It’s what we have and I hear so many folks were worried about what may be happening five years from now with a vaccine and the misinformation and we have to think about the short term threat that is COVID-19 to us and our families. And if we’re going to go to war against the first let us go with our shield and that’s our vaccines,” said Chairwoman of President-Elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force, Dr, Marcella Nunez-Smith,

“My responsibility is to protect and promote public health and public safety, and to create the conditions for people to be successful, by making sure that people are getting vaccinated. That is how we create those conditions,”

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