The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat and tele-town hall today, Feb. 16, from 6–7 p.m. to discuss COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and more. In recognition of Black History Month, the event will hone in on health disparities and initiatives to advance health equity.
Key topics include:
- How the historical mistrust of the health care system among Black communities has informed COVID-19 vaccine outreach
- Ways to protect your mental health while navigating the traumas of the pandemic
- The importance of staying up to date on your vaccinations
- Steps NCDHHS is taking to improve equitable access to information and vaccines
Participants include Kody H. Kinsley, NCDHHS Secretary; Victor Armstrong, Chief Health Equity Officer for NCDHHS; Dawn Gibson, Ph.D., co-founder and Executive Pastor for Peletah Ministries; and Brian Shackleford, internal medicine physician and member of the Old North State Medical Society.
The fireside chat will stream live from the NCDHHS social media accounts and will also include a tele-town hall feature. Households will be invited by phone to listen in and submit questions to help ensure everyone who is interested can participate. People can also dial into the event by calling (855)-756-7520 Ext.79189.
This event comes as case numbers from the Omicron surge are declining. During the surge, the rate of COVID-19 infections among Black and Hispanic North Carolinians was as much as double that of the state’s white population. Hospitalization rates among Black and Native American people were also higher than those for white people.
To date, more than 1.2 million (50%) of all Black or African Americans in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but many people across the state are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine.
NCDHHS fireside chats and tele-town halls are part of the state’s ongoing public engagement to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure equitable access to timely information, resources and COVID-19 vaccines.
To access the fireside chat, click on one of the links provided above at 6 p.m. on Feb. 16.