CONYERS – Rockdale County and the Citizens Progressive Club will partner this Thursday to present a virtual town hall meeting titled Dispelling the Myths, Fears and Phobias related to the COVID-19 vaccine. The event will be presented from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the Rockdale County Facebook video channel at www.facebook.com/rockdalegov, the Rockdale County website at www.rockdalecountyga.gov, and the Rockdale 23 YouTube page. Questions to the speakers can be submitted via the comments during the live event on Facebook.

Viewers can expect to hear presentations from Dr. Alvin Griffin of Conyers; Dr. Bonnie Word of Texas, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases and travel medicine; and Dr. Kenneston Carr of California.

The Rev. Al Sadler said the virtual town hall grew out of a Progressive Club discussion in December on the need to get information about the vaccine out to the public. The Progressive Club saw the need to partner in this effort, Sadler said, and asked Rockdale County if officials would be interested in joining with them to provide information on a large scale where people could hear from experts.

Sadler said the hope in particular is to reach the African American and Hispanic communities where there is more skepticism about the vaccine. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 43% of Black adults said they would rather “wait and see” before getting vaccinated, compared to 31% in the general population. Twenty-one percent said they definitely would not get inoculated, unless required to do so for work, school or other activities.

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In addition, according to a new demographic analysis from the CDC, Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented among people vaccinated in the United States. In the first month of the national vaccine rollout, only 5.4 percent of recipients were Black, and 11.5 percent were Hispanic, although those demographic groups make up 13.4 and 16.7 percent of the population, respectively.

Sadler said he has encountered vaccine reluctance in his church community.

“I’m hearing it,” he said. “That’s another reason whey we wanted to try to get the best information possible out to people so they can make informed decisions. I personally believe that the better information you have, the better decisions you can make.”

For more information contact Al Sadler at 404-374-0585.

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Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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