Vaccine task force member looking out for local community

"Being on the task force has been an eye opener"
Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 16, 2020

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Rev. Diann Holt is working to answer COVID-19 vaccine concerns in Buffalo’s inner-city.

Holt is serving as a member of the New York State’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force.

Rev. Diann Holt is a member of the state vaccine task force.

Holt tells 7 Eyewitness News she is making sure concerns of the city's Black and Brown community will be addressed.

“Being on the task force has been an eye opener for me,” declared Holt.

As founder and executive director of the Durham's Maternal Stress-Free Zone on East Eagle Street, Holt has a pulse on the east side community.

The task force is helping to advise the state on equitable vaccine distribution.

New York State’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force.

“There has been a distribution list that was past to each and every one of us — where we could put on this distribution list who we wanted involved in it,” Holt explains.

Holt is looking out for city residents who live across inner-city Buffalo neighborhoods to make sure they have fair access when the vaccines finally arrive for the general public, which is still months away.

Street corner on Michigan Avenue in Buffalo.

“My comment was they could put it a street corner and put the National Guard there to administer it because a lot of individuals do not have transportation to a lot of places,” Holt explained. "There is so much taking place during COVID that we have to make it as easy as — quickly simple as possible for them if you really want them to do it.”

But Holt said she is also trying to answer vaccine questions from the community.

“That primary question — should I take it — well I don't know if you should or not — the bottom line is you should be talking to your physician,” Holt noted.

But Holt said community members are telling her they don’t trust their primary care givers.

Rev. Diann Holt in Zoom interview.

“And oh my God my stomach just sinks every time I hear that,” Holt said.

Holt said she believes there is so much distrust because “American has not been good too Black and Brown people.”

Other questions Holt is working to answer include:

  • How was the vaccine created so quickly?
  • Who was involved in development?
  • How many people of color — African Americans were involved in vaccine trials?
  • What are side effects?

“They didn’t like the word “Operation Warp Speed” —there were so many things that I was hit with once individuals found out I was on the task force,” replied Holt.

“Diann what will convince you to take the vaccine?” Buckley asked.“I’m already convinced — I'm going to take it,” responded Holt.

Holt said she’s “myth-busting” mission to bring as much information about the vaccine to community members so they can make a decision about getting the vaccine.

“The more information people have the better decision they’ll be able to make,” Holt remarked.