'Everybody will have access,' says Governor Northam on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in underserved communities

Northam announces new COVID-19 restrictions.PNG
Posted at 9:11 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 09:03:50-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam made a stop at Ocean View Medical and Dental Center on Wednesday to see how things are going and what health officials at the center need as America gets closer to getting a vaccine.

“We’ve learned so much. There is a trust issue amongst our communities," said Gov. Northam.

People in the community have a lot of questions. Dr. Vladmir Markovic, the Chief Medical Officer at the center, is on the receiving end of it all.

“What is it? What's in it? How is it made? How is it made so fast?"

Dr. Markovic says patients need transparency, and he believes gaining the public's trust starts with leading by example.

He plans to get the vaccine when it's available.

“Not only could I tell you how the vaccines works based on the medicine, I can personally tell you how it felt personally," adds Dr. Markovic.

He says this is part of educating the public.

The governor was joined by Dr. Janice Underwood, the state's Chief Diversity Officer, and other health leaders who addressed their challenges, including resources, people's fears and fair distribution.

“We are committed to making sure that this is done equitably," said Northam.

News 3 asked the governor about the recent reports of people in Europe having allergic reactions after getting the vaccine. He says different vaccines come with side effects, but it's important to stick to it.

“It’s important to come back depending on what vaccination you receive - whether it's 21 or 28 days - we want to make sure to encourage people that it's okay if you have mild symptoms, but it's important you get that second dose as well," adds Northam.

Another community concern is vaccine accessibility for minority populations and undocumented people.

Dr. Underwood says they are working hard to make sure barriers to access do not happen.

“We are going to be going to all four corners of the Commonwealth, including the Eastern Shore. We are going to make sure everyone knows exactly where to go," she adds.

For more information on the state's COVID-19 vaccine plan, click here.

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