NHCOA to host Virtual Town Hall to Address Questions and Concerns about the COVID-19 Vaccines

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) continues developing innovative ways to engage, inform and listen to the communities we serve. For 52 years, NHCOA has worked to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers. Even during a pandemic, we will continue to work towards that mission.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. Vaccines to prevent the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are perhaps the best hope for ending the pandemic. But naturally, people have questions and concerns. In an effort to keep our communities informed and to share timely scientifically backed information, NHCOA’s first event of the year is aimed at answering questions and addressing the concerns of Latinos about the COVID-19 vaccines.

NHCOA continues its dedication to disseminate timely and accurate information while also creating culturally and linguistically sensitive spaces in which Hispanic older adults, their families and caregivers can come together to discuss issues impacting their lives. NHCOA also strives to connect Latino older adults with local leaders, advocates, service providers and policymakers to work towards solutions that address their communities’ specific needs; this town hall will be one of those spaces.

NHCOA’s COVID-19 Vaccines: Addressing Questions and Concerns Town Hall will be conducted in English on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 2:00 – 3:30 PM (EST).

You can register for the town hall at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/621225581196539916

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for Latinos in the US, and globally; but the recent approval of two vaccines brings with it hope! However, the vaccine only works, if people get it. This is especially true for Latinos, who account for 18.5% of the total US population but experience a death rate of 31.9% when using weighted population distributions. Understandably, there is hesitancy among some Latinos to get the vaccine. To overcome these fears, we must ensure our communities are educated and that the information is grounded in science. That is what we are doing with our town hall,” states Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of NHCOA.

This townhall will bring together older adults, community leaders, caregivers, organizational leaders, providers, and stakeholders to ensure questions and concerns around the COVID-19 vaccines are addressed in an attentive, receptive and culturally sensitive environment.

The town hall will feature university representatives to provide information about the clinical trials that brought us the COVID-19 vaccines, a personal perspective from a Latina who has received both doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and Dr. Henry Pacheco, renowned infectious disease physician. This town hall will also provide participants to with an opportunity to voice their concerns and get their questions answered. 

COVID-19 Vaccines:

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. On December 18, 2020, the FDA issued a second EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. As of 5:31 PM CST on January 5, 2021, 5.05 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines had been distributed in the United States, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg and data from the CDC.

Since this approval, a lot of misinformation has circulated about the vaccines and hesitancy rates, particularly among Latinos, are high.  A December poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago found that, 24% of Blacks and 34% of Hispanics plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine. These rates are compared to 53% of white respondents. Uncertainty is also high among these communities with 41% of Hispanic Americans and 37% of Black Americans saying “they’re not sure about getting” the COVID-19 vaccine. This hesitancy and uncertainty are not surprising given the history of transgressions by the government and medical communities towards these groups, and others. In fact, trust in physicians and health care systems are typically lower among Black and Hispanic American adults when compared with whites; and a greater perception of discrimination in health care settings for Blacks and Hispanics compared to whites.

However, this fear and mistrust must be overcome to protect our communities that have been devastated by COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching a person’s immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, protecting a person from getting sick with COVID-19. None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines nor the ones in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Being protected from getting sick with COVID-19 is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications.

Sponsors:

NHCOA´s COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall could not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Lilly, AbbVie, PhRMA, UnitedHealthcare, and Pfizer Foundation.

About the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA):

NHCOA is the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and their caregivers. Headquartered in Washington, DC, NHCOA has been a strong voice dedicated to promoting, educating, and advocating for research, policy, and practice in the areas of economic security, health, and housing for Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers for more than 50 years.

Sources:

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-vaccine-black-latino-20201219-x6wlkklgqzbunovx5jub4w4dwi-story.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

Originally published by The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA): Source

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