Metro hosts virtual town hall as part of campaign to increase vaccinations in communities of color

Posted at 8:11 AM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 01:02:30-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville hosted a virtual town hall today as part of its campaign to increase vaccinations in communities of color.

The virtual event was hosted by Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood, Rep. Harold Love Jr. and Dr. Joanna Shaw Kai-Kai, along with the Metro Public Health Department.

The point of it is to sort out what's true and what isn't about the vaccine. That way people have a better understanding of the importance of vaccinations.

"Our mission is to educate, to empower and build trust among people of color in our communities as it relates to the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination,” said Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood.

For example, the health department wants people to know it's a myth that the vaccine somehow changes your DNA.

A few weeks back, Mayor John Cooper announced a city-wide campaign to increase the number of vaccinations in communities of color. During that COVID briefing, Dr. Shaw-KaiKai also said the campaign includes mobile vaccination teams going out into communities, and that will be especially important once Metro enters Phase 1c, which includes those with underlying heath conditions.

While African Americans account for about one in every five COVID cases in Nashville, they account for more than two out of every five COVID deaths.

"So you can see that we have a concern and we want to do everything we can to stop that trend," said Dr. Shaw-KaiKai

The group of doctors and public health officials stressed the importance of creating trust in communities of color to encourage them to get the vaccine. Doctors wanted to address concerns that the vaccine was developed too fast. Doctors say it was developed so quickly because of so much money put into the vaccine project, including taxpayer money.

"Remember you, the tax payer, invested into the trial," said Dr. Vladimir Bertaud," This is your vaccine and I want people to realize that."