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Hartford, state leaders encourage communities of color to vaccinate children

In the state, about 55% of Hispanics and 49% of African-Americans are fully vaccinated.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The CDC recently approved the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11, and with some communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, city and state leaders gathered Friday to urge folks to get vaccinated.

On the heels of this new age group, there's a renewed focus on getting members of the Black and brown community vaccinated.

RELATED: CT vaccination clinics for children 5-11 years old

"In this pandemic, we have seen many disparities laid bare, and there is still a large gap of vaccination rates between communities," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin explained.

In the state, about 55% of Hispanics and 49% of African-Americans are fully vaccinated. 

Neighbors discussed why they believe vaccines numbers are low in the Black and brown communities. 

 "A lot of people that refuse is because they hear somebody else say something negative," Janet Reynolds told FOX61. 

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Philip Quaye said it's more of the fear of the unknown.

"What they don't know and what they want to stay away from," Quaye added.

Health officials, city and state leaders agreed, saying it comes down to hesitation and misinformation.

"When you're consuming information on COVID, vaccines, and mask-wearing that you're getting that information from credible, reliable sources," Sen. Chris Murphy said.

Now more than ever, Dr. Juan Salazar, Physician-in-Chief of Connecticut Children's, said its vital people rely on science and data.

He said over the course of the pandemic, there have been 2 million cases of COVID-19 in the 5-11 age group. Out of that number, 38,000 were hospitalized and 92 kids have died.  

"Some people may say well, that not that many," Salazer said. "But if you're a parent and that's your child, think about what that means." 

He added that it is no different than protecting your kids from the missiles, chickenpox, tetanus, or the other disease vaccines are used for.

However, the bottom line is: the vaccine protects children, and our communities can't afford to be afraid; it's time to be responsible and informed.

"Be not afraid is that we have to deal with this pandemic. The be responsible is get vaccinated so you can be further not afraid and protect your children." 

If you are interested in getting your child the COVID 19 vaccine, click here.

RELATED: Kids ages 5-11 are already starting to get their first COVID-19 shots

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.comFollow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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