State leaders encourage minorities to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Morehouse School of Medicine President Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, met with Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Department of Public Health Director Dr. Kathleen Toomey, and other state and local leaders Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts to end  the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the roundtable discussion, participants talked about the challenges and opportunities to increase the  vaccination rate  in Georgia, particularly in communities of color.

"We believe at Morehouse Schoool of Medicine with our partnership with Grady and the state we have some opportunities to really make a difference," said Dr. Rice.

RELATED: How to get the coronavirus vaccine in Georgia

Dr. Rice told the group that  Morehouse has vaccinated over 1,200 people, with approximately 8,000 on a waiting list. The governor praised Morehouse for its work and said more needs to be done to reach at-risk groups.

"We know that the virus has affected minority populations disproportionately in many ways, whether it is small business owners, whether it is from a health standpoint. We had very frank discussions today about vaccine hesitancy, not only in the  African- American community,  but brown communities as well.  We are focused on that.  That is something that we have got to continue to build confidence in."

Gov. Kemp said there must be a plan in place to ensure anyone who wants to can get vaccinated once COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in Georgia.

"Really all of this is going to be based on supply, and when that day comes when we have that supply we are planning now for not only mass vaccination sites, but some of the discussions we had today are how do we literally get to the local church, the local neighborhood, the local subdivision, to the communitiies no matter where they are."

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