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DC Health Link Goes Virtual to Address Communities of Color COVID-19 Vaccine Mistrust and to Boost Health Insurance Enrollment During “Week of Action”

Friday, January 22, 2021

Medical experts, DC Government and community leaders to discuss vulnerability of communities of color to COVID-19, dispel COVID-19 vaccine myths, and share current DC Health Link enrollment opportunities

During a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, it is crucial that Americans have access to health care and use it when they need it. However, despite the virulence of COVID-19 and its new variants, communities of color—who are disproportionately impacted by the virus—are getting vaccinated at a much lower rate than other groups.

Many Americans in communities of color across the nation have expressed mistrust in the United States health care system and are reluctant to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Some experts attribute this situation to an unfortunate legacy of egregious medical mistreatment in America.

To address this disparity, DC Health Link, in partnership with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, District Government agencies and community organizations, will host a virtual Lunchtime Town Hall Conversation, “Focus on the Facts: COVID-19 Vaccines and Communities of Color,” on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 12:30pm.

In recognition of the National African American Enrollment Week of Action, this interactive town hall will focus on COVID-19, the vulnerabilities and the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, dispelling myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, and barriers to vaccination. In addition, information will be shared about the importance of enrolling in quality, affordable health insurance coverage and the enrollment opportunities during a pandemic through DC Health Link.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 12:30pm -
DC Health Link Virtual Lunchtime Town Hall

“Focus on the Facts: COVID-19 Vaccines and Communities of Color”
Zoom Registration:

Remarks: Wayne Turnage, DC Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services, COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participant

Welcome /Greetings:
  • Mila Kofman, Executive Director, DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority
  • Gracelyn McDermott, VP, Sales and Marketing, Kaiser Permanente

Moderator: Allison Seymour, News Anchor, WUSA9

Panelist: Dr. Ashlee Williams, MD, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Kaiser Permanente – “What is COVID-19: Myths vs. Facts”

Panelist: Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, MD, MPH, Director, DC Health – “COVID 19: The Impact and Vulnerabilities on Communities of Color”

Panelist: Dr. Tollie Elliott, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Mary’s Center – “A Focus on the Facts: Surviving the Pandemic & the Medical Value of the Vaccine”

Panelist: Purvee Kempf, General Counsel and Chief Policy Advisor, DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority - “Now More Than Ever: The Importance of Health Insurance”

Registration is required to attend this virtual town hall. Register here:

DC Health Link’s Open Enrollment for individuals and families continues through January 31, 2021. Eligible District residents can enroll in a health insurance plan online through or by calling (855) 532-LINK [5465]. Small businesses—as well as individuals and families eligible for Medicaid—can enroll through at any point.

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