Mayor LaToya Cantrell wants to see more Black and Brown New Orleanians get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s necessary, she says.

“The only way out of this is going to be getting our people fully vaccinated,” the Mayor said during a round table with local Black press.

Just under 38 percent of New Orleanians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of that group, about 42 percent are African-American. It’s a statistic the Mayor Cantrell says is lagging in a city that is nearly 60 percent Black and one where the Black community has been disproportionately impacted by coronavirus.

“We are continuing direct outreach,” Cantrell said. “I am looking at where people are who have been vaccinated. The data is also telling us where our needs are. We must do a better job at reaching Black and Brown residents in the community.”

In an effort to reach more residents, the EMS and fire department staff have reached out to home bound residents delivering vaccines. If there are homebound New Orleanians that have not been vaccinated, but want to be, they are urged to call 311. Many sites are now taking walk-ins and free rides are available to residents as well.

“We believe we have met that need, but again there may be some people we don’t know about,” Cantrell said.

This week, the City also began reaching out to the homeless population, including those on the streets, in shelters and supportive housing. Getting homeless residents vaccinated will be an easier task with the allocation of the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

With the vaccine now available to all residents ages 16 and older and a plethora of vaccine events across the region, the task of getting people vaccinated is now really one of reaching out to those who are hesitant or uncertain about taking the vaccine.

“Hesitancy is a real thing,” Mayor Cantrell said. “ We are making some progress, but we are not there yet.”

The key to combatting hesitancy is to continue to get facts and information to residents and to meet them where they are, she adds.

For more information on vaccinations in New Orleans, click here.

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