Governor, mayor visit Irvington clinic to encourage Black community to get vaccinated
Myths about vaccines and the long shadow of the Tuskegee experiment have led to decreased vaccine confidence among the Black community.
Gov. Phil Murphy visited an Irvington barbershop on Friday to tour a vaccination site next door. The governor and the city’s mayor are sending a message to Black men to let them know that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
“If you want to get things back to normal, we need to get vaccinated,” says Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss.
Just 35% of Irvington’s 55,000 residents are fully vaccinated. The Murphy administration is working to make sure those numbers increase.
“We’re dogged in our pursuit to make sure they continue to be on the rise. We’re knocking on doors in place like Irvington,” Murphy says.
To encourage vaccination in the Black community, the governor and mayor of Irvington visited N & N Unisex Hair Salon, which had a pop-up vaccine site just next door.
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“Mr. Newman has been my barber a long time. So I just come and sit in the chair and he knows exactly what to do,” says Vauss.
The governor led a discussion on how to get more people in the Black community to get fully vaccinated.
“I’ve got family members, my 87-year-old grandmother who’s in Brooklyn, New York, still is refusing to get vaccinated,” says Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Brian Bridges. “Look, I've had the vaccine now for several months. Nothing has happened to me, I'm not turning into a zombie. The truth-tellers have to be out there spreading the word.”
The governor's administration has, since the first day the vaccines were available, made a commitment to racial equity in vaccinations across the state.
“We’ve done a lot. We’ve come a long way, but our journey is not done yet,” Murphy says.
The governor on Friday also signed into law a measure to create a task force on COVID-19 racial and health disparities. Murphy says that the pandemic has disproportionately affected minority communities.