In the ongoing battle against COVID-19, one of the greatest threats in the black community isn’t found in the lack of social distancing, masks, or variants. The threat is found in our people’s hesitancy to take the vaccine that has proven to save lives and mitigate symptoms of those who still contract the disease.
COVID-19 doesn’t have to be a death sentence when you overcome the fear of the unknown. In fact, the unknown is a choice as there are advocates and organizations concentrating on sharing the good news about beating COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Vaccine Hesitancy in Black and Latinx Communities was a study whose findings show that only 14% of African Americans mostly or completely trust the vaccine to be safe. These findings echo the sentiments of Jacksonville native, Tiffany Montgomery.
“I would be real hesitant to get in [the vaccination] line right now,” Tiffany confesses. “It’s too much like the Tuskegee Experiments.”
Some believe that history in Tuskegee is the epicenter of mistrust between the African American and medical communities. In the midst of the pandemic, that hesitancy further exposes our community to greater danger. NOWINCLUDED is partnering with other like-minded change agents to engage, educate and equip people like Tiffany to understand the true risks and make a decision to protect herself and her family.
“Get our people educated and well-informed so that they can make a decision,” said Joanice Thompson, Community Engagement Liaison with the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors.
These groups also want to make sure there is equal access to adequate healthcare along with adequate information that is properly disseminated. By providing additional resources, we can debunk myths and shed light on broken information that can help us build whole answers to our community’s challenges, including the getting the COVID-19 vaccine.