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Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Vaccine Concerns in Black, Caribbean Communities Addressed

Vaccine Prep -File Photo.jpg

By Vince Conti

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
TRENTON – The state Department of Health recently organized a virtual town hall panel discussion aimed at the unique concerns of the state’s Black and Caribbean communities as they relate to the pandemic and the vaccination program.
The purpose of the discussion with medical experts who are members of the communities was to dispel rumors and misinformation that might impact acceptance of the vaccine in groups disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. 
Each panelist sought to provide informationthat would assist informed decision-making regarding vaccination.
Emergency physician Dr. Harold LaRoche, New Jersey chapter president, Haitian Physicians Abroad, addressed the disproportionate impact of Covid on Black communities. 
He argued that long-standing disparities of health care led to a higher risk of underlying conditions among the state’s Black population, not any unique susceptibility of Blacks to the virus.
Dr. Chris Pernell, of University Hospital, in Newark, spoke on the issue of trust in the communities. Restoring trust through community discussions on the pandemic is important if the administration of the vaccine is to achieve its high-level goals.
Dr. AmesikaNyaku, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at New Jersey Medical School, supported vaccination for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant. She said the “risk of having Covid while pregnant is much greater than any risk associated with the vaccine.”
A video recording of the panel discussion is available to the public through the state Department of Health’s website (

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