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Community leaders work to address fears and misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccine

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(WEEK) --- As vaccine rollout in Illinois slowly improves, there are still some second-guessing the decision to get the shot.

Now, local leaders are working to clear up the misconceptions.

More than 140,000 people in Central Illinois have received their first dose of the vaccine, but the majority of those doses did not go to people of color.

"We know that from a historical, and even present-day perspective, there is some mistrust from some communities of color," infectious disease physician Dr. Abeer AlMajali said. "We'd like to avoid that by being transparent about the possible adverse events and side effects."

The Bloomington chapter of the NAACP held a webinar Monday night to address concerns and provide people with the facts.

Health chair Arlene Hosea helped coordinate the event, which features 6 doctors from different areas of expertise.

"It is most critical at this time for our communities of color, black and latinx communities to know the facts and the truth," Hosea said. "It has been really distorted. (There is) lots of disinformation out there."

Hosea says a lot of people have voiced their concerns.

One person shared fears the vaccine would implant a microchip into their brain. Samer Sader of UnityPoint Health says that isn't so.

"We can actually recommend this vaccine without any hesitation," Sader said. "Do we think some people may have side effects to it that are more than just your regular fever and aches and pain from a vaccine? It is possible, but not likely."

Experts say the side effects and risks of the virus itself far outweigh any risks connected to the vaccine.

Harry Croton

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