Flyers are circulating in Prince George's County, Md., spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and apparently targeting African Americans.
According to NBC Washington, resident Sam Williams said when a relative showed her the flyers calling coronavirus vaccines experimental and dangers for Black people, 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, according to the news station.
Askew says he first learned of the flyers when they 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,” he added.
The flyers reportedly promote alternatives to the vaccine, including natural remedies. Askew says those alternatives, however, are not supported by science.
“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 says the 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.
According to the health department, Black Americans are trailing in vaccination rates compared to every other racial group. Additionally, Prince George’s County is majority African American.
Williams says she’s fully vaccinated, received her two shots as soon as they became available and wants to be a positive example for her family and friends who are considering not getting the vaccine.