Health leaders push to inform minority communities on COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 10:40 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The number of Black people in Tennessee receiving the vaccine is incredibly low.

Some elected officials believe accessibility to vaccination sites is a major issue and so is keeping the community informed.

On Monday Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church held a virtual town hall meeting, answering any questions people still have about the coronavirus vaccine.

Health leaders are relying heavily on the faith-based community to get the word out to the communities disproportionately affected by the virus.

“We feel it is our moral obligation to help give people information to help them make the decision that is best for them,” said J. Lawrence Taylor, senior pastor with Mississippi Boulevard Christian church.

Related | State lawmaker starts Black History Month series discussing COVID-19′s disproportionate effect on Black communities

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, of the more than 833,0000 vaccinations administered so far only about 6% have been given to Blacks compared to nearly 70% of whites.

“It is almost unbelievable because if you look statistically at the infections of African Americans as well as deaths, we have born the brunt of COVID-19,” said Turner.

Some Shelby County Commissioners had questions about what the Shelby County Health Department was doing to help level the playing field when it came to vaccinations.

Last week county officials opened a vaccination site in Whitehaven. But commissioners say there needs to be more.

Shelby County Health Officer Bruce Randolph said they have inspected other locations but at this point opening additional locations isn’t necessary.

“A lot is going to depend on the availability of the vaccine and the availability of state and personnel to administer the vaccine,” said Randolph.

Commissioners also unanimously passed a resolution to ask TD to immediately vaccinate K-through-12 teachers and staff. Currently, teachers under the age of 70 have to wait until the following phase.

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