LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — ‘The Pandemic Stops with Me’ webinar covered the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, why minority communities are hesitant to get vaccinated, and how the community can do its part to stop the spread of the virus.

The panel was hosted by Caesars Entertainment, Nevada Minority Health & Equity Coalition, and the UNLV School of Public Health.

A panel of five experts, including four doctors, answered common questions about the vaccine, the current stage of the pandemic, and debunked myths.

These community leaders are at the forefront of COVID-19 efforts in Nevada and are working to achieve a higher vaccination rate among minorities.

Doctor Erika Marquez describes the biggest challenge they face with vaccine hesitancy.

“I think one of our really hardest challenges right now, at this point in the pandemic, is the amount of disinformation and misinformation. It’s almost hard for us to keep up with that,” Dr. Erika Marquez, Nevada Minority Health & Equity Coalition.

“Our communities are so confused with you know you can go onto as Doctor C mentioned, any social media platform and there are folks sharing so much information,” Marquez added.

The panel also focused on myths surrounding the vaccine and what Pfizer’s full FDA approval actually means.

Dr. Brian Labus, epidemiologist and UNLV assistant professor said, “It comes down to the basic difference in the way we approve vaccines. So when there’s an emergency situation there is a pressing need for that. We want to use that vaccine sooner. It doesn’t mean we skip steps.”

Panel speakers included:

  • Dr. Brian Labus – Epidemiologist and Associate Professor, UNLV School of Public Health; Member of Governor Sisolak’s COVID-19 Task Force
  • Jose Melendrez – Chairman, Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition; Executive Director, UNLV School of Public Health Office of Community Partnerships
  • Dr. Erika Marquez – Vice Chair, Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition; Assistant Professor, UNLV School of Public Health
  • Dr. Francisco Sy – Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, UNLV School of Public Health
  • Dr. Christina Madison – Associate Professor, Roseman University of Health Sciences; Associate Professor, UNR School of Medicine

The group also says statewide the data is skewed because the majority of our cases numbers are coming from Southern Nevada.

They say the Delta variant hit us here in the valley earlier than most of the nation.

The panel reiterated the majority of the people getting sick and dying are unvaccinated and that these deaths are preventable.