PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA-APRIL 8, 2021) – The Portsmouth Health Department, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, and other health organizations across the country are observing National Minority Health Month (NMHM). An initiative from the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities, April has been designated as the time to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minority populations, and encourage action through health education, early detection, and control of disease complications. The 2021 NMHM theme is #VaccineReady. As recognized by the HHS Office of Minority Health, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minority communities, and underscores the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available. In its observance, the Portsmouth Health Department is concentrating its efforts on educating Portsmouth residents about the viability of the COVID-19 vaccination and its importance in keeping the public safe. COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and bringing an end to the pandemic. The health department has also been busy setting up vaccination sites in various communities around the city, partnering with social and faith-based ministries to spread the word, get people registered to be vaccinated and to answer questions about the process. “Next week we will be working with the faith-based community, which has been one of the best methods for reaching targeted audiences,” said Avanti AllenBenson, with the Portsmouth Health Department. “This partnership gives the church the opportunity to take care of their congregation and its neighbors.” Allen-Benson said that people still have many questions about the vaccine and the registration process. “If you still have not been contacted about getting the vaccine, you may call 1-877-829-4682 to find out the status of your registration.” She urges residents to be patient. The Virginia Department of Health’s website at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/ is filled with all types of resources to help Virginians with questions. Additionally, if you or someone you know is suffering from COVID-19 stress or anxiety, call VA COPES at 1-877-349-6428.
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