Black and Latino communities hesitant to take coronavirus vaccine

Pool photo by Mark Lennihan

The COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out across America. Just yesterday, December 14, the first shots were given as the U.S. surpassed 300,000 virus-related deaths. According to a New York Times article, “Shortly after 9 a.m., the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was administered in New York City, the first known inoculation since the vaccine was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration late last week.” But how sure are you about this vaccine?

A recent study shows that Black and Latino communities are hesitant about getting the vaccine. COVID Collaborative, Langer Research, UnidosUS and the NAACP conducted a poll on attitudes and impacts of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance in the Black and Latino communities. It should come to no surprise that this is happening. Black and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected by health crises, and this experience is reflected in hesitancy attitudes and behavior.

Some key takeaways from the study include:

  • The negative correlation between Black identity and vaccine intention suggests that education efforts should work to acknowledge the harm that historical vaccination efforts have caused (notably, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study), while making pointed connections between core values within the Black community and the benefits of vaccination. Specifically, efforts should aim to highlight how vaccination can save Black lives and strengthen Black communities.
  • Because of the positive correlation between Latinx identity and vaccine intention, and because Latinx elected officials in one’s community are more likely to be trusted than white elected officials, efforts to promote uptake should leverage voices from within the Latinx community and should reinforce the notion that vaccination is a responsibility that helps the Latinx community at large.

In a nutshell, only 18% of Black Americans surveyed and 40% of Latinos surveyed believe the vaccine will be effective. That’s not a very good number. Me? I’m on the fence. I know friends and family that are all for the vaccine and others that are waiting it out.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks down what expect during your vaccination appointment on their website. And according to their suggestions, you should still get your second dose even if you experience side effects; unless of course your medical team says not to get the second dose.

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