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NAACP Houston Branch hosts COVID-19 vaccine town hall

HOUSTON – The Houston Branch of the NAACP is hosting a virtual town hall on the COVID-19 vaccine.

The town hall begins Tuesday and you can register for the event here.

“For this to be effective, it can’t be for one group,” said Dr. Michelle Lyn, assoc. professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and pediatric emergency physician at Texas Children’s Hospital. “It’s sort of like walking and breathing, this is something we need to do, right, to save ourselves, our families and our community.”

Lyn said the COVID-19 vaccine is a crucial component in battling the virus, especially in minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted. However, she said many African Americans are hesitant to get the vaccine. She said years of inequitable healthcare and the memory of the Tuskegee experiment left many in the African American community distrustful of vaccines.

“We have to address that and we have to address that by really going to the facts, by going to openness and transparency,” Lyn said.

The NAACP’s Houston Branch is hoping to allay those fears by hosting this virtual town hall, connecting the community with medical experts who can answer questions and address concerns.

“So you’ve got this institutional racism that exists and that harbors that mistrust,” said Roger Harris, a member of the NAACP Houston Branch’s executive committee. “We’ve got to get the information to our culture, our people. So they can understand, so they can have a better understanding of what the experts are saying.”

Harris and Lyn are in favor of the vaccine and said they hope this town hall will help more members of the community to make informed decisions.

“The community can then be able to say, ‘well, I was at a virtual town hall meeting hosted by the NAACP and this is what I heard,” Harris said.

The Episcopal Health Foundation just released the results of a survey showing 49% of African Americans in Texas stated they are likely to get the vaccine as opposed to 63% of Hispanics and 59% of whites.

You can read the Foundation’s full study here.