Press Release

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2021

Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines, March 29

All Union County Residents Invited to Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines, March 29

Board of Commissioners hosts “Conversation with Communities of Color on COVID-19 Vaccines” event to break myths, misinformation, and other barriers.

Union County, NJ – With misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines continuing to run rampant, the Union County Board of Commissioners will host a virtual, interactive Town Hall on Zoom beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, March 29. The Town Hall is aimed at helping the Union County community confront the rumors head-on and increase the vaccination rate in communities of color.

Pre-registration is required for the Zoom link at bit.ly/vaccinetownhallucnj.

Vaccination rates in the U.S. vary widely by race, with communities of color far below the rate for whites. In a recent county-by-county analysis of New Jersey, the percentage of Black residents receiving the vaccine was at least 41% lower than for whites, and the difference was at least 45% for Hispanic/Latinx recipients compared to whites.*

“We are determined not to let the weight of the past overpower equal access to safe, effective vaccines for every Union County resident,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “By bringing this conversation to the community, we hope to break down the myths and empower everyone to arm themselves with facts in the fight against COVID-19.”

“Spreading lies is especially harmful to diverse communities like Union County, and that is why the Board of Commissioners is taking action,” said Vice Chair Rebecca L. Williams. “It is important to know where these rumors come from and why they impact communities of color, in order to ensure that every Union County resident knows they have the power to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities against a lethal virus.”

“Fear-mongering and misinformation have carved a deadly path all throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This is clearly a public safety issue that impacts all of us, and the Town Hall is another step in our campaign to push back and shine a light on the facts,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, who chairs the Board’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. “We encourage all Union County residents to attend this forum, especially those in minority communities where statistics indicate the need for accurate, fact based information about COVID-19 vaccines.”

“The historical wrongs against communities of color on the public health front are real and should be considered as we continue to roll out efforts to achieve full vaccination and guard against the spread of COVID-19.   However, we should not allow any groups to sow seeds of trepidation and anxiety to influence our population to make choices that create a risk of harm to any of our communities.  Our goal is to shine a light on the past as we inform and empower Union County families to make fact-based decisions about health and safety,” said Commissioner Angela R. Garretson.

The Town Hall will begin with opening remarks by Commissioner Garretson, followed by a presentation on the historical background of vaccine skepticism by Vice Chair Williams and a panel discussion featuring Dr. Chris T. Pernell, MD of University Hospital, Dr. Omar M. Bey, MD of RWJ Barnabas Health, and Dr. Gerardo Capo, MD of Trinitas Medical Center.

The public will be invited to ask questions of the panelists as well as other elected officials, community leaders, and religious leaders. The event will conclude with closing remarks by Commissioner Granados, including information on how to register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

*Source: NJ Advance Media.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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