Houston Methodist host free virtual COVID-19 vaccine town hall

Houston Methodist answered questions about the vaccine rollout in a virtual town hall Friday.

HOUSTON – On Friday, Houston Methodist Hospital answered questions about the vaccine rollout during a virtual town hall.

Health experts covered a range of topics but wanted to focus on helping educate communities of color about COVID-19. They have programs in the works, that include partnering with minority organizations and churches in to help spread the word about the vaccine.

“Really the goal is to bring death down and ultimately control the pandemic,” said Dr. Marc Boom, the president and CEO of Houston Methodist.

Arianne Dowdell, VP and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, was the moderator of the town hall. While Boom and Dr. Victor Narcisse, the associate division head of hospital medicine, addressed several topics about the pandemic.

“They’re safe and effective get them when you can get them but please wait your turn so we can get to the highest risk individuals,” Boom said.

Health experts said the African American and Hispanic communities are impacted the most when it comes to the pandemic.

“It’s very clear that communities of color are disproportionately affected. African American community 1.4 times likely to get ill, more than 2.8 times likely to die of coronavirus complications so these communities are at particular risk but there is a sense of decreased trust. This trust is a long-standing problem,” said Narcisse.

Doctors are encouraging people to get the vaccine shot.

“The tragedies of things like the Tuskegee the important nature of like that are history that we can’t change in health care unfortunately and we are living with the consequences of that today and so anything we can do to work with people in every community I think benefits everybody,” Boom said.

They are also asked about trust and the development of the vaccine, which took less than a year.

“They were developed very very quickly should this be a concern the answer is no the technology that is is these vaccines were developed initially in response to other vaccines outbreaks,” Narcisse said.

The US has already surpassed 400,000 thousand COVID-19 deaths and experts say the coronavirus was the number one cause of death in late 2020, according to the Houston Methodist.

“This has been obviously a very, very severe disease we need to be working together to bring this down,” Boom said.

Health experts said one out of 17 Texans received the vaccine. That about 6% of the state. They also talked about pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions. They encourage them to consider getting the vaccine.