Town Hall meetings Saturday to provide answers to vaccine questions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Area residents who have questions about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, how they work, their effectiveness or the need, can get their questions answered at a string of Town Hall meetings Saturday across Lexington.

The University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare, in partnership with local faith leaders and SHARE Lexington, will host the COVID-19  Vaccine Community Town Hall events at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 24, 2021.

Tukea Talbert, DNP, the chief diversity officer for UK HealthCare and Vince Venditto, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UK College of Pharmacy, spoke with reporters virtually Friday about the goal of the town hall.

Vinditto said it’s important people look at the data behind the vaccines which show, “The risk of getting an infection and being hospitalized is significantly higher than actually the risk of the vaccine.”

Vinditto addressed the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and concerns about the potential risks, adding, “We want to be able to understand what the risk means and how we address it in moving forward.”

Talbert spoke about the growing concern over variants, “You don’t get these mutations and variants if the disease isn’t spreading. If you can stop the spread, you stop the evolution of the virus. So, this vaccine was really a health promotion and prevention and we want to focus on the importance of that.”

“It’s really communicating with them, what the science is that went into this,” said Vinditto. “And a lot of people think that this vaccine was made in a year but there’s really 20 years of research that led up to this point and it only was because of the pandemic that the vaccine was able to be put into use.”

Community members are encouraged to attend in person, especially those without Internet access, at one of the community town hall locations below:

Masks and physical distancing are required at all locations.

At these sites, attendees will watch a virtual panel of health care experts from UK HealthCare and the UK Colleges of Pharmacy, Medicine and Health Sciences who will answer common questions about the vaccines.

The panel includes Deshana Collett, Ph.D., associate professor in UK College of Health Sciences; Trenika Mitchell, Pharm.D., associate professor in the College of Pharmacy; Dr. Sylvia Ofei, assistant professor in the College of Medicine; and Vincent Venditto, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy. The panel will be moderated by Tukea Talbert, DNP, the chief diversity officer for UK HealthCare.

After the virtual panel, there will be an opportunity to register for the COVID-19 vaccine with the assistance of on-site coordinators.

To view the virtual event, use this link  For more information, contact Tukea Talbert at  To watch the virtual panel without attending in-person, go to You will be able to access the event recording at the following link

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