Flyers Circulating in Maryland Discourages African Americans From Getting Vaccinated

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Flyers circulating in some Prince George's County communities are spreading disinformation about the coronavirus vaccine and appear to be targeting African Americans.

Sam Williams said when a relative showed her the flyers calling COVID-19 vaccines experimental and dangerous for African Americans, she cringed.

“When I saw the flyer, I thought that there was enough truth mixed into the lie to make the lie that much more effective,” she said.

“The pandemic has shifted to become a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Prince George's County Health and Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Dr. George L. Askew said.

Askew first learned of the flyers when some were distributed in Baltimore.

“To further campaign to increase hesitancy to take the vaccine — which is a lifesaving elixir — I think is unconscionable in my mind,” Askew said.

The flyers advertise some county health food stores and suggest natural alternatives to the vaccine. Askew said those alternatives are not supported by science and the best way to prevent COVID-19 is with a vaccination.

“I think the clearest proof of anything is the folks who are sick and dying are folks who are unvaccinated,” he said. “I don't know if there is any clearer proof of the safety of the vaccines than that.”

Williams’ relative who received the flyer was already on the fence about getting the vaccine.

“It might keep him on the fence, even though our family has been really adamant about them getting vaccinated,” she said.

Prince George’s County is a majority African American community. According to the health department, African Americans are trailing in vaccination rates to every other racial group. They don't want any disinformation convincing folks not to get vaccinated.

Williams said she's double vaccinated and got the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it became available. She's working to be a positive example for family and friends who are hesitant. 

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