WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Surgeon General Jerome Adams stressed the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, while raising issues of social equity.
The officials spoke Monday at a George Washington University Hospital event Monday to launch the vaccination of health care workers in the nation’s capital.
Adams, who is Black, said it would be a tragedy if the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color got worse because of hesitancy to get the vaccine. “We know that lack of trust is a major cause for reluctance, especially in communities of color,” said Adams.
Azar said the vaccines bring hope, but “all of that hope doesn’t matter if we don’t bridge to that point” where widespread vaccination puts and end to the pandemic. So he called on Americans to double down on practicing responsible behaviors such as avoiding travel and gatherings, maintaining social distance, wearing masks and washing their hands frequently.