Talking Points for Black/African American Community & Civic Organization Leaders

To print this document, use your internet browser’s print settings to set page margins and remove the header and footer. For the best printing experience, use the Google Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge browser. 

Caring for our civic-minded community

  • It’s easy to feel helpless during these times, but there are precautions that we can all take to help keep ourselves and our civic communities healthy. We can get vaccinated as soon as we can. 
  • Civic leadership is here to support our community, staff, and the general public with information and guidance during these unprecedented times. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, as well as to others you know who are alone or may feel isolated while attempting to prevent getting COVID-19.

General considerations

  • Our community wants to ensure that during this pandemic, we take as many preventive and protective measures as possible for all of us to stay healthy and to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • We need to regularly communicate with state and local authorities to determine current policies and procedures and follow any recommendations we deem appropriate for our civic and volunteer communities.
  • Because of the pandemic, we recommend any member of our community who is feeling ill, has a cough, a fever, is experiencing any other symptoms of infection, or who was been exposed to someone with COVID-19, to please stay home except to get medical care.

Conversations in the community

People have many questions around COVID-19 in our community, and it’s important to be able to share accurate information. Here are some talking points based on facts and insights from CDC.

Promote healthy practices

  • We will follow public health guidance to maximize everyone's protection from COVID. CDC recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks inside public places when the COVID risk to your community is high.
  • We’ve taken steps to reduce the number of people congregating inside our buildings at the same time. We’ve created additional options for volunteering and civic engagement, including online options (fill in here what other options you have put in place for this).
  • We’re also increasing our cleaning procedures and are focusing on disinfecting surfaces in high-traffic areas for the benefit of us all. In addition, when possible, we’ll open windows to increase indoor air ventilation.
  • Vaccines are here now. But this is no time to let down your guard. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available to us. Getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others offer the best protection.

Socialize your COVID-19 protocols

  • Since we want to ensure our whole community is aware of our safety protocols, please help us by sharing this information with your staff, members, and visitors. We share this information regularly through our newsletter, bulletins, and social media channels. Please bring this up with your family and friends and follow our protocols.
  • Please let us know if you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test and have been in our building. When this happens, we’ll contact everyone who was in our building that day and encourage everyone to get tested or stay home to reduce virus transmission in our services. There’s no shame if you test positive. We all need to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Vaccine readiness/confidence

Safety

  • The COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States meet the FDA’s rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. Tens of millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and all COVID vaccines will continue to be monitored for safety. 
  • Serious health effects from vaccines are very rare. It’s highly unlikely that COVID-19 vaccines will cause long-term health problems. Also, there is no evidence at all that they will cause infertility or cancer.
  • Your risk for serious health problems is much lower from the vaccine than your risk if you’re unvaccinated and get COVID-19. COVID-19 can leave you with heart and lung damage and other conditions that require long-term treatment. Vaccines are much safer paths to immunity than the disease itself.

Effectiveness

The available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.

To get the most protection from the vaccines, you need all the recommended doses for people your age.

If you’re vaccinated, you should get an updated vaccine to help protect against Omicron.

Get your updated vaccine now if your last dose was before September 2022 (October 2022 for kids 6 months – 11 years).

Otherwise, wait until 2 months after you complete your primary vaccination series to get your updated vaccine dose. Completing your primary vaccination series means you got your first 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax vaccine, or your 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

If you recently had COVID, you should wait 3 months from when you got sick to get your updated vaccine.

Children 6 months – 4 years who got all 3 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccination series don’t need an updated vaccine at this time.

Novavax offers a booster dose of its COVID vaccine, but it doesn’t target Omicron. People 18 and older can get the extra Novavax dose if they’ve completed their primary vaccination series.

Emergency authorization

  • The FDA carefully reviewed the vaccines for safety and authorized them because the expected benefits outweigh potential risks.
  • The FDA has fully approved the following vaccines after thoroughly evaluating additional data on their safety and effectiveness and inspecting where and how they’re made:

    • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for people ages 16 and older.
    • The Moderna COVID vaccine for people ages 18 and older.

An important tool in stopping the pandemic

  • The vaccines are just one of the tools we have to fight the virus. They work with your immune system so it’ll be ready to fight the virus if you’re exposed.
  • To maximize protection from highly contagious variants and prevent possibly spreading COVID to others, 

    both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear a well-fitting mask inside public places when the COVID risk to your community is high.

  • If you’re at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID, you can also protect yourself by:
    • Keeping at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you.
    • Avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you don’t have soap and water.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, especially people at increased risk for severe COVID-19.
  • If you do get COVID-19, there can be long-term health issues after recovery. We still don’t know if you can get COVID-19 again or how long you might be protected from reinfection.
  • Everyone ages 6 months and older in the United States should get a COVID-19 vaccine. You have three ways to find vaccines near you:
    • Go to vaccines.gov
    • Text your ZIP code to 438829
    • Call 1-800-232-0233

Keeping connected

  • Let’s reach out and support our community who choose not to be physically present in our building during these trying times.
  •  Remember you can safely connect via text, calls, and video chats.
  • We’re here to support you emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and those you know who are alone or isolating to prevent getting the virus.
  • If you have questions regarding COVID-19, the preventive measures, or the vaccines, please let us know, and we can ensure you have the most recent fact and science-based information. Go to cdc.gov/coronavirus or your local public health department’s website.