HAMPTON, Va. – As the country starts to turn the corner in the pandemic, there is still an urgency to vaccinate more people even as demand dips.
The Peninsula Educate and Vaccinate team is trying to reach more people, especially young people, through music and education about the vaccine.
Artist Jus Jon, 31, of Newport News is on the fence when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine even after suffering from the illness himself.
“Very hesitant; very, very hesitant,” he said. “I read a lot of things on the news. It might be false, or screening social media on my Instagram looking at how people have been affected by the shot, so I have not gotten my shot yet.”
Misinformation about the shot is what the Educate and Vaccinate team is trying to dispel. The group, which is part of Elite Business Strategies, organized a free concert at Paradise Ocean Club in Hampton Wednesday to get the word out and get more shots in arms.
“It’s important we get the right information out to the right people so they can get the right message to their family, friends and neighbors,” said event coordinator Gaylene Kanoyton.
The renewed push comes as the demand for the vaccine dwindles.
Kanoyton said with the threat of the new, potentially more contagious and deadly Delta COVID variant from India, they’re doubling down on efforts.
“We’re trying to prevent that by getting everyone vaccinated,” she said. “We don’t want to wait until someone dies.”
Yorktown resident Mister Iverson, 17, lost three family members to COVID. The sad realization helped him overcome his vaccine hesitancy. He’s now hoping to get his first shot within the next couple of weeks.
“It started making me believe I should get it not only for my safety but for my parents’ safety,” Iverson said.
About 8% of young people in Hampton Roads have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
Jus Jon said the Delta strain is what finally convinced him to get the shot, which he plans to do next week.
“The new variant I heard is horrible and I don’t know when it’s going to hit, so I’d just rather be safe than sorry,” he said.
The Educate and Vaccinate team will be hosting two more free concerts over the next two Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. They hope to hold more events in July.
Next Wednesday, June 23, the team will have the Hampton University mobile vaccine clinic on-site from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone who wants a shot.