MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A prominent, African American City Commissioner is speaking out about the coronavirus vaccines, urging all residents to learn more about them and how to get them.
Commissioner Jeffrey Watson addressed some key issues less than 2 weeks after the City secured 3,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses for seniors and as it plans to expand vaccinations at housing developments and other sites.READ MORE: What's Open, What's Closed On Memorial Day
There are also significant concerns as studies show black Americans are getting the vaccines at dramatically lower rates than whites.
Watson told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench “The African American community has had experience with vaccines that has not been good. But this is a new day.”
“I was called last Friday and was told your numbers are down. Go knock on doors. It doesn’t matter how many doors you knock on if they are not trustful of the vaccine. They are not going to take it. The Tuskegee experiment and other incidents cause us to be distrustful of the vaccines. However, this is not a new virus. It is a different strain.”
“What we do know is that we were in a pandemic and we are trying to make sure that you are protected,” he said. “If some people want to talk to doctors, they should, in a hurry. Some people want to talk to their religious community, they should.”
Watson said, “There’s people overly anxious about the numbers. I want the infrastructure out in place to make sure people get vaccinated. If we put that in place the numbers will take care of themselves. We have the vaccine. Your audience should know we are doing the best we can to get people vaccinated.”READ MORE: At Least 1 Hospitalized As Car Ends Up In Pond In SW Miami-Dade
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said, “We are doing everything to ensure the most vulnerable are vaccinated.”
Outside the Tuscany Cove Apartments, Ira Walker told D’Oench she had been waiting for the chance to get vaccinated.
“I feel nice and I feel like everyone should get it,” she said. “What I would like to say is everyone should do the right thing and take it and it will save lives. Everyone needs to get it to get back to normal living. The virus affects everyone and if you get it you are going to save lives.”
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She urged everyone to put aside their mistrust.
“Where do you think this mistrust comes from?” She was asked.MORE NEWS: Officials Urge South Florida Residents To Prepare For Upcoming Hurricane Season
“False information,” she said. “False information.”