Community leaders organize COVID-19 vaccine task force

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 18:46:37-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Several community leaders will host a COVID-19 Task Force meeting Dec. 17 to help educate neighbors in Tallahassee and Leon County about the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

Led by Bethel Baptist's Pastor R. B. Holmes, participants like chair Elaine Bryant point out people of color have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

She added they are also most likely to distrust new medical treatments due to mistreatment in projects like the Tuskeegee Experiment.

"There are many people that are hesitant about taking the vaccine," Bryant explains, "and the challenge is, as we have described, is to ensure that people are informed, that they understand the science, that they understand is the vaccine safe, and who is saying that. Who are the people that are saying that? And who has actually taken the vaccine with positive results."

Bryant also said that she and others on the task force plan to take the vaccine when it becomes available.

Others, like community advocate Christic Henry, are more hesitant and hope the discussion will give way to addressing some of the vulnerabilities that make COVID-19 particularly threatening to minorities.

"Black and brown communities sometimes feel as though they are the lab rats of society," said Henry, "and so it's really important that we're looking at this not just from a perspective of needing to find a solution to the current issue, but looking at it from a perspective of health holistically."

All participants will meet virtually on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and be viewed by clicking here.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering