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With kids ages 5 to 11 now able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, health officials are encouraging those in diverse communities to get the shot.

Officials with the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute say while there’s still some hesitancy within the Black community about the coronavirus vaccine, they want people to know it is in fact safe and it’s important for kids to get vaccinated, now that they can.

Vanessa Greene, the CEO, says she wants her community to know that the shot has been vetted thoroughly. As a mother herself, she says she understands the concern but knows getting kids vaccinated is the best option.

Greene says to solve the problem of hesitancy, it’s important for people to understand why distrust exists and go from there.

“I think that in order to change and to improve in these areas of distrust and hesitancy, whether it’s about the vaccination or about healthcare in general for the African-American community, then it will require us coming together and having those serious conversations and being intentional about making change,” said Greene.

Greene says it’s important to have conversations with communities across the board to understand where others are coming from and move forward.