Reaching people where they are is the goal of a Lexington town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday about coronavirus vaccines

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By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
As coronavirus vaccinations have slowed recently, Gov. Andy Beshear has called on local leaders and businesses to engage with their communities to encourage Kentuckians to get a shot, and a group of such influencers are doing just that in Lexington.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, April 24, the University of Kentucky, local faith leaders and SHARE Lexington will host a Covid-19 Vaccine Community Town Hall to answer questions about the safety, efficacy and long-term effects of coronavirus vaccines, and offer attendees the opportunity to register to get one.
The hope is that this town hall will “meet people where they are” and open up a dialogue about the vaccines in a way that resonates with the attendees, Vincent Venditto, assistant professor in the UK College of Pharmacy, said in a Friday news conference.
“I hope that it becomes a dialogue tomorrow,” said Venditto. “Because it’s really in a dialogue, that we can actually make progress. Because if I’m telling you something and you don’t understand or the community doesn’t understand, then we’re not actually making progress.”

Tukea Talbert, chief diversity officer for UK HealthCare, talked about the importance of health care providers being intentional about taking the time to answer all of their patient’s questions about the vaccine, and also about the importance of individuals sharing their vaccine experience.

“That goes a long way. I think that people do need to have those conversations. And that’s exactly what we’re hoping to achieve through this day tomorrow,” she said. “We may get a handful of people, but if those people go out and have a conversation at the dinner table or with a spouse or with a child or a family member, then that may be the push that they need to get them over the hump and show up to register for a vaccination. So I think those conversations are very critical.”

Including Venditto, the panel includes Deshana Collett, associate professor in the College of Health Sciences; Trenika Mitchell, associate professor of pharmacy; and Dr. Sylvia Ofei, assistant professor in the College of Medicine. Talbert will moderate the panel.

Each of the eight town hall locations will have a site coordinator who will facilitate the virtual viewing. Community members, especially those without Internet access, are encouraged to attend in person at one of the community town hall locations in Lexington:
  • Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah, 1545 Russell Cave Road
  • Dunbar Community Center, 545 N. Upper St.
  • Kenwick Community Center, 313 Owsley Ave.
  • Castlewood Community Center, 201 Castlewood Drive
  • SHARE Center, 572 Georgetown St.
  • Central Christian Church, 205 E. Short St.
  • Quinn Chapel, 744 Charles Ave.
  • Charles Young Community Center, 540 E. Third St.
To view the event virtually, use this link The event will also be recorded and can be found at this link:


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