State leaders meet with Connecticut Public Health College Corps about their efforts to encourage COVID vaccination

New Haven

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Lamont and U.S. senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal met with members of the Connecticut Public Health College Corps Tuesday, a group that has been going into communities to encourage COVID-19 vaccination.

“Sometimes you’re more receptive to information when it’s from a familiar face or someone who looks like you,” said Keesha Graham, a CT Public Health College Corps Volunteer.

As a member of the Public Health College Corps, she’s out in her own community connecting, bonding, and openly talking to people who have reservations about the COVID-19 vaccine. Volunteers say most people they’ve talked to who are vaccine-hesitant are reading rumors and misinformation on social media sites.

Graham says talking to people face to face makes all the difference.

“Be able to talk to them about things when they have concerns and make them feel at ease,” Graham said.

At a roundtable discussion hosted by Quinnipiac University, the state leaders talked to the Public Health Corps Workers about the insights they gleaned going door-to-door to get more people vaccinated.

“It continues to surprise me how much of this propaganda gets out there to people,” Sen. Murphy explained. “That there are still people out there believing that they are going to die within a year of taking the vaccine or that it’s going to make them infertile. I mean that’s all nonsense but it’s still surprising and disturbing to me how many people out there are believing that.”

“You can’t do this all with the Internet, you can’t do it with VAMS, you have to look people in the eye,” Gov. Lamont said.

“I think there’s also a sense of social justice on campus. Reaching out to communities of color, less advantaged groups and persuading them that they can save lives,” Sen. Blumenthal said.

The corps was a summer program. It has since ended but Sen. Murphy says there is funding to continue these outreach efforts. In the meantime, Governor Lamont says infection rates in Connecticut have remained flat over the last couple of weeks.

Hospitalizations continue to creep up. Booster shots for the most vulnerable are scheduled for next month. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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