While health officials continue to stress the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, they’re learning communities of color across the U.S. are hesitant to do so.
That’s why community centers are working to educate people about the vaccine’s safety and benefits.
Here is more information about what kinds of outreaches are in place.
Local community centers serve a large portion of the community of color.
They have seen the hesitation and are continuing to develop ways to educate everyone.
Health professionals encourage the community to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at their first opportunity.
Recent studies suggest that African American and Latino communities are less likely to do so.
Health officials from those communities said that there’s valid reasons as to why, one of which dates back to history.
“I think it definitely has some historical background on how people of color were used for tests when it came to vaccinations or diseases or things of that nature,” said Kevin Arrington, Pandemic Safety Officer at the MLK Center.
There is also the issue of access.
“People are calling us morning and night. People are texting us asking how do I get on the list? When is the vaccine available?” said Gary Horton, Executive Director of UECDC.
Misinformation is another factor.
“A lot of information was saying different things and so people were confused and didn’t know what to do,” said Arrington.
Community centers are working to provide education to eliminate the many fears associated with COVID-19 vaccinations.
“What we’ve been doing through the MCIC and here at the Martin Luther King Center is trying to educate the community since last Summer starting with campaigns and just passing out information, testing, screening, talking about the importance of getting screened and getting checked,” said Arrington.
When it comes to accessibility, they’ll continue to connect with area hospitals.
“If it wasn’t for Allegheny Health Network reaching out and providing 120 vaccines for the Booker T. Washington Center, the Martin Luther King Center and Quality of Life Learning Center, we wouldn’t have any public experience with providing the vaccine for these vulnerable populated people,” said Horton.
Until the centers are able to consistently vaccinate, they will continue to offer free COVID-19 testing weekly through local hospital partnership.