BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland National Guard Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan to lead the Equity Task Force to ensure the statewide COVID-19 vaccine rollout is equitable.

“I’m here to offer you an opportunity to be healthy, and to make your community healthy, and the only thing I can do is to be here time after time,” Birckhead said.

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The task force visited churches, hospitals and even went car to car to build vaccine confidence in communities of color.

“We’re bringing it to you in the language that you speak in the community that you live,” Birckhead said. “Outreach in this instance means vaccines in arms.”

Birckhead said, for her, this mission is personal.

“My grandfather’s diploma 1915, if you look at his name, it’s spelled incorrectly. This is very indicative of what colored people at that time went through. They didn’t take him time to spell his name correctly,” Birckhead said.

Birckhead said this mission gives future generations a chance.

“We’re not talking about this one generation in this time and place,” Birckhead said. “We’re talking about the future generations, and so that person who may come up with the vaccine for the next epidemic or the next pandemic may not ever be here without us taking care of this now and without us getting this under control.”

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Annie Rose Ramos