DEARBORN — C-Assist, a Dearborn-based NGO headed by Nancy and Zeina Berry, is one of two given a grant for vaccine hesitancy by the Health Services and Resources Administration Agency.
The campaign, Partners of Health Equity, is a COVID vaccine awareness campaign that began in August and targets the Arab American communities aged 12 and over.
The campaign is funded by the HRSA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health, and is currently focused in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and the Metro Detroit area.
C-Assist is being assisted by a team of experts and well-trained professionals who represent all segments of the Arab community throughout Michigan.
The campaign provides COVID-19 vaccines as well as guidance, education and awareness and has covered sites such as the University of Michigan, as well as a number of public schools, mosques and Arab grocery stores throughout Wayne County.
C-Assist has also participated in several health events in Detroit, including the annual “Dignity Day” event on Oct. 23 at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, which was attended by hundreds of participants to receive food, school supplies, clothing and vaccines for both COVID-19 and the flu.
Sources in the Wayne County Health Department have indicated that the number of Arab Americans who have received their vaccines is low, but since the campaign began C-Assist data has indicated a remarkable increase in the vaccinated number.
Ismail Haidar, one of the activists in the campaign, told The Arab American News that misinformation and disinformation makes people hesitant and their justification is ritual or political and has no valid scientific reason. Haidar also said that he considers receiving the vaccine to be a social, community health responsibility and not a personal choice.
Nancy Berry, CEO and president of C-Assist, said science has shown that the vaccine is safer and more effective and gives the vaccinated individual more immunity than natural immunity.
“That’s what medicine says, isn’t it?” she said. “Vaccines have protected humanity from deadly infections and the belief of some that the vaccine technique enters the nucleus of cells or changes DNA is totally wrong. The vaccines are not new, and the corona vaccine technique is new, yes, but it was not unknown. It has been applied on many diseases, such as cancer.”
Berry concluded by appealing to members of the Arab community to cooperate with the campaign and urged people to receive the vaccine and spread awareness to protect the health of the community.
For more information about the campaign, please contact the organization at 313-670-9943.