Kern County public health authorities have partnered with members of the local Black community to produce a pair of public service announcements urging people to set aside their hesitations and get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Two 30-second videos scheduled to begin broadcasting Friday feature well-known members of the community urging people to get a shot for their own and others' protection.
The recordings open with Arleana Waller, founder of the MLKcommUNITY Initiative, telling viewers the local Black community's death rate is 7 percent greater than that of the state as a whole.
"We've got to do everything to keep each other safe," states Waller, who the Kern County Public Health Services Department credited for helping develop the scripts.
The videos urge people to get vaccinated when their turn arrives. They refer viewers to MyTurn.ca.gov and says they can also call 833-422-4255.
Both versions of the announcement acknowledge distrust is a significant challenge in persuading people to get vaccinated. They feature Nick Hill, president of the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, acknowledging viewers' concerns but reassuring them the vaccines have been properly tested.
"Distrust and uncertainty are real," he says. "But the COVID-19 vaccines have been validated by top medical experts to be safe and effective, and they are free."
Also featured in the videos are Moses Small, an anchor and reporter at KGET-17, and Tony Lee, a radio personality at KNZR.