On April 26, RWJBarnabas Health’s Northern Facilities, in cooperation with the North Jersey Chapter of The Links, Incorporated hosted a webinar for the Black community featuring a panel of medical experts to discuss women’s health, fertility, general medicine and the COVID-19 vaccine.

The panel answered questions families had related to the COVID-19 vaccine, especially those considering the vaccine for their children who may be resuming in-school instruction this month. The webinar was hosted by special guest moderator, Robert Giles, MD, Assistant Director of Emergency Medicine at Clara Maass Medical Center.

Panelists will include Stephen Ford, MD, Internal Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway; Marilyn McArthur, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Saint Barnabas Medical Center; Arnold Williams, MD, Psychiatry, Behavioral Health Center; Michael Straker, MD, Obstetrics Gynecology, Clara Maass Medical Center; Nelson Aluya, MBBS, MD, Internal Medicine, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and Leah Dungee, RN, Director of Maternal Child Health Services at Jersey City Medical Center.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on New Jersey, and in particular, on members of our Black and brown communities. According to state data, Black residents, although only representing 14 percent of the state’s population, accounted for nearly 26 percent of diagnosed COVID-19 cases and 22 percent of fatalities. Despite the current widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus, the state reports that only 6% of Black residents have been vaccinated compared to 56% of white residents.

“It is our hope that Black community members, mothers, expectant mothers and women in particular, will join this webinar to learn more about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said DeAnna Minus-Vincent, MPA, Senior Vice President, Chief Social Integration and Health Equity Strategist, RWJBarnabas Health. “As we know, in order to achieve immunity and protect our family, neighbors and friends, it is critical that approximately 70% of the population get vaccinated to protect us all.”

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