Memphis community leaders hold webinar on COVID-19 vaccines

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A group of Memphis leaders held a webinar Friday to provide education on COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccine skepticism comes from all walks of life, as the battle against this unprecedented virus continues, but Memphis-based leaders believe fear and distrust resonates in the African American community more than most.

“Tuskegee really stands out,” said Dr. Altha Stewart with University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. “The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is what stands out in the minds of many people. There actually are events from the beginning of the time, when the first enslaved Africans arrived.”

A group of local leaders hopes to debunk vaccine related myths and help all communities come together for general safety. They say they’ve found a role in education rather than pushing residents one way or another.

“I’ve found it part of my responsibility as a faith leader to make sure that I present credible resources to my church,” Reverend Dr. Jason Turner with Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

The leaders also had suggestions for how to improve vaccine acceptance in all communities. At the top of the list was simpler, easier access. Opening vaccine centers in low-income areas is a start.

“What we want to have happen is more people vaccinated, so that we can move to the next phase of opening up,” Stewart said.

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