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Norfolk doctor pushes to build community trust in COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Keith Newby said he is focusing on black and brown communities that are most affected by complications with COVID-19.

NORFOLK, Va. — So far, more than 41,000 COVID-19 doses were administered in Virginia, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

Sentara Healthcare officials report more than 6,000 COVID vaccines were administered over the last nine days. 

Norfolk Cardiologist Dr. Keith Newby was one of those recipients, and he said he hopes to clear misinformation about the vaccine.

“I took it, I am still breathing,” Newby said. “I am still alive.”

Newby is the CEO of Fort Norfolk Medical Associates. He said he feels great after getting the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday. 

He experienced arm soreness, which is now gone.

“The only issue I had was soreness at the injection site which lasted about 14 hours,” Newby said.

He said that is extremely important information to share.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty and fear factor, and a lot of people are swaying away from it,” Newby explained.

He said he is focusing on black and brown communities that are most affected by complications with COVID-19. Patients constantly ask him three burning questions.

“One of the things is A, should I get it? B, what are the side effects you are hearing? What are the long-term side effects?” Newby said.

He is opening up about his vaccine experience on Facebook to encourage the community to fight the spread of COVID-19.  

“I’ve had at least 18 people die of this in the last seven to eight months I have been involved with, because of the severity of the infection,” he said.

When it comes to the state’s vaccine rollout plan, Newby wants more specifics.

“We have our black and brown communities who are most affected, and we are not seeing how that rollout plan is going to help the vaccine get administered in our neighborhood,” he said.

Newby said he has reached out to the Governor’s Office to become a vaccine distributor. He hopes to build the community’s trust.

“I try to tell people, don’t let the hype of misinformation sway you from getting something that may save your life, or your loved ones life, if you were to get it and give it to someone else,” he said.