Texas A&M doctors, local health officials bringing presentation to fight vaccine hesitancy to the Brazos Valley

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 11:09 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A group of Texas A&M doctors and community health officials are putting together a presentation to help prevent vaccine hesitancy in the Brazos Valley.

It’s the same group of people who gave this same presentation to a community in the Houston area. They used pre-existing community partnerships to form trust and answer people’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Ivan Rusyn is a professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and one of the team members who contributed to these presentations put on for Houston residents.

“This is one of the beauties of working with communities because once you establish trust, you can’t just tell them you can only ask certain questions,” Rusyn said. “Now you actually have to work very closely with them and help them with any type of feedback that they need with respect to our common scientific knowledge.”

Now, this same group is bringing their presentation to the Brazos Valley, and they’re hoping to do it more than once. That means they’re looking to develop new community partnerships and trust so they can have the same impact as they did in southeast Houston.

One of these presentations has already been scheduled in Brazos County. It’s set for Friday, April 23 at the Salvation Army in Bryan from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Rusyn says the presenters will stick around afterwards as long as deemed necessary to answer any and all questions those who attend might have.

”It will take us a little while to establish the trust and schedule these meetings locally,” Rusyn said. “We are okay with starting small, so if we have 10, 20, maybe 30 individuals as their facilities can handle with proper distancing, we will be there to make very brief presentations.”

Rusyn says they are also trying to work with the American Red Cross and the Brazos Vaccine Hub to have vaccinators on site who can actually administer shots to those participating in the presentation to help build more confidence in them.

Rusyn and his colleagues hope the Salvation Army presentation is the first of many in the Brazos Valley.

“It took us close to a decade to establish that trust through a number of projects in Houston, and it’s impossible to replicate that exact level of trust in a couple of weeks,” Rusyn said. “But we ware working with the local authorities to help us make these partnerships.”

If you’re interested in bringing one of these presentations to your community, you can reach out to Dr. Rusyn at irusyn@cvm.tamu.edu.

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