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'It's a good thing': Somali community group hosts vaccine education town hall

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Monday April 19, 2021

It's a good thing': Somali community group hosts vaccine education town hall

OMAHA, Neb. —In Douglas County, 33% of adults finished their vaccinations.

The health department hopes to boost that number with more walk-in clinics.

There’s also an effort to educate people about the vaccine by giving them facts straight from a doctor.

The Eastern African Development Association of Nebraska brought in a CHI Health doctor for a face to face conversation about the vaccine.

“Many people have a question about it and many East African community (members) live in Omaha and many people have a phobia about this,” said Mahamed Jimle, the executive director of EADAN.

Jimle got his vaccine but noticed other people in his community were not. He made it his mission to get his community to understand the risks and the reward.

"I got this vaccine shot, I haven’t had any reaction, anything, I feel strong,” he said.

With Dr. Sami Zeineddine and a Somali translator, the group asked questions and brought forth concerns. The goal is to get those in the room to get the shot.

"It’s a good thing. Everybody was asking questions and everyone with concerns was asking questions and the doctor had some very good answers,” said Hassan Abdi, who attended the town hall.

“I’m sure he has convinced a lot of people here today.”

Abdi said he's not quite on board, but the opportunity to talk to a doctor directly made a difference. Especially about the vaccine and their religion.

"Halal is a big thing, people want to know what’s in the vaccine,” Abdi said.

Zeineddine said meetings like this are critical.

"What's eating people up today is the hoax, the misinformation on social media, the texting and friends. So, to hear it from a professional has a bigger impact,” he said.

The association said it’ll let the information sink in for a while, then hose a vaccination clinic at the meeting center in May for those who want to get the shot.

To watch the whole meeting, click here.


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