KITCHENER -- Several community groups in Waterloo Region are hosting a series of town halls to discuss COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among priority populations.

Sunday’s event was hosted for the African, Caribbean, and Black community and featured leaders from the ACB Network, Congress of Black Women Waterloo Region, and Bring on the Sunshine among others.

Members of Toronto’s Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity were also available to answer questions.

“A lot of these side effects are just your immune system working,” said Dr. Zainab Abdurrahman of McMaster Children’s Hospitalduring the town hall. “This is why a lot of people think they’ve caught a cold or they’ve caught the flu from the flu vaccine, because they experience a lot of things they associate with getting sick, but this is actually your immune system working.”

A video series called ‘Hear Stories From Our Community’ is also available on the Region of Waterloo’s website to address questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We appreciate the opportunity to engage community leaders and stakeholders who are helping inform how we communicate with priority populations across Waterloo Region and how the vaccine is distributed,” said Fauzia Baig, Equity and Anti-Racism Advisor for the Region of Waterloo, in a news release. “We are working with many community groups, community leaders and health care providers to increase vaccine awareness and to make sure all the residents of Waterloo Region have an opportunity to be vaccinated.”

In the release, the region says resources are being developed to also help refugees, newcomers, the South-Asian community, as well as faith groups and rural populations in regards to COVID-19 vaccine questions.