Vaccine Equity: town hall events continue

Vaccine Equity: town hall events continue

COLUMBUS — The state’s drive for vaccine equity continues tonight with a town hall event focusing on Hispanic Ohioans. The event is one of a four-part series, with each one designed to speak to issues of concern for different minority communities around Ohio. It began Monday with a one hour, fifteen minute broadcast on the Ohio Health Department’s Facebook page with a target audience of African-Americans.

It began with Dr. Valarie Montgomery Rice, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, as she dispelled one of the myths surrounding the vaccine.

“It’s not possible to get the COVID from the vaccine because they are not using the live virus,” Rice said.

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The program was a mix of pre-recorded segments and live interviews with doctors and community leaders. Former Dayton State Senator Tom Roberts, now President of the Ohio NAACP, joined the program to promote the vaccine.

“The NAACP is working with the Ohio Department of Health to train local leaders to educate our communities,” Roberts said.

Gov. Mike DeWine played only a small role in the broadcast, speaking for only about three minutes.

“We have been battling this for almost a year. It’s hard to believe but I am very hopeful. And I am very optimistic. And One of the main reasons I am optimistic is because we now have the vaccine,” DeWine said.

He said he realizes that many people have reservations about the vaccine.

“And so that’s what this is about. To hear from some experts, to hear about the science behind these vaccines,” DeWine said.

Reaction initially was mixed on social media where the video was posted. One woman wrote, “I am Black. I was vaccinated. It was fine. I don’t distrust the government. It’s that I just trusted the scientists more,” A post from a man who watched the program was much more critical of the Governor. “Maybe because many people rightly do not trust Mr. DeWine and the rushed vaccine for something that is not even close to a pandemic. Maybe people no longer want to be lied to.”

The comments came just as the nation passed the 500,000 mark for COVID-19 deaths across the country. The World Health Organization reports 2.4 million deaths worldwide.

Additional events are planned for Tuesday, February 23 at 6:30 pm, Monday, March 1 at 6:30 pm and Tuesday March 2, at 6:30 pm.

The remaining town hall events can be viewed live or for playback later here: