Aims to provide truthful and trustworthy information to Black and African American communities

Sacramento, Calif. –  California Black Media, in partnership with the State of California and The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, hosted a third news briefing today to provide critical information on the latest COVID-19 public health guidelines, vaccine safety and efficacy, and vaccine access for Black Californians. 

The “Get Smart on COVID-19” series is designed to equip Black journalists with the information they need to write authoritatively about COVID-19 vaccinations and harm reduction measures – topics about which there is significant misinformation, widespread mistrust and limited public understanding.  

“Californians have come together over the last several months to help save lives by getting vaccinated, wearing masks and washing our hands,” said David Tucker, representative from the California Department of Public Health. “More than 30 million doses of the safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccine – including Johnson & Johnson – have now been administered across the state, with nearly 6 million going to those in our hardest hit communities, improving the health of all Californians.”

While progress is being made across the state to defeat COVID-19, Californians should continue to help protect our communities even as restrictions loosen by wearing masks when appropriate, washing our hands, watching our distance, and getting vaccinated. Those who have yet to get vaccinated should wear a well-fitting mask with multiple cloth layers whenever outside their homes. Once fully vaccinated, Californians may participate in outdoor activities, like exercising and dining outside, without masks.    

“By getting vaccinated and encouraging others to get vaccinated, we are protecting ourselves, our loved ones and everyone around us,” said Pastor K.W. Tulloss from the Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. “Almost 40 percent of California’s Black community has been either fully or partially vaccinated, and while we’ve made tremendous progress helping to educate people about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, we must do more because this pandemic won’t fully end until all Californians are vaccinated.” 

“As our state’s economy plans to re-open on June 15, we want people to understand that we cannot let our guard down and each of us must do our part to follow safety guidelines, get vaccinated and continue wearing masks when appropriate, so we can end this pandemic sooner,” said Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate.

“COVID-19 has been a tremendous disruptor to our daily lives and has taken its toll on our collective health—both physical and mental—especially those in the African American and Black communities,” added Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California Surgeon General. “This month especially—which is Mental Health Awareness month—I urge all Californians to find some comfort in knowing that we are getting to the end of this pandemic together.”   

To help Californians stay safe, the California Department of Public Health recently updated the following guidance on gatherings and events:

• Private events, meetings, receptions or conferences, and indoor live events and performances will be allowed depending on tier level with modifications and masking requirements.

• Other indoor gatherings will begin to return with modifications and some proof of vaccination may be required.

• Schools and higher education institutions should offer full-time, in-person instruction.

• More information on these updates can be found at Covid19.ca.gov.

To find out how to get vaccinated, visit MyTurn.ca.gov, the state’s “front door” to getting vaccinated where Californians can learn when they are eligible, sign up for notifications and schedule an appointment. Those without access to the internet can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255 (833-4CA-4ALL), which includes a language support center to assist with MyTurn.ca.gov sign up.  All personal information is confidential and protected. 

Information on the state’s equitable phased distribution process can be found at www.covid.ca.gov.