LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Several Black health care workers in Louisville are rolling up their sleeves to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
As the country is one step closer to getting the general public vaccinated, some in the Black community have expressed skepticism regarding the vaccine.
Samuel Gaines, a medical assistant at Beverly and Gaines Associates, said, ”Unfortunately, we have a distrust in the medical community as a whole. Different motives can be attached to what things that go on in the medical community."
According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 35% of black people said they definitely or probably would not take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the public.
Gaines says he understands the hesitancy.
“The timing of it, how quickly everything was done, they are very just hesitant just to take something like that. They rather be six months down the line than do it right off the line,” explained Gaines.
Gaines and several in the medical community want to encourage others to trust the vaccine, given they are 2.8 times more likely to die from the virus than white Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“I understand there’s always going to be some hesitancy, but I trust in medicine, and if I can be an example for anybody, then that’s definitely what I'd like to do,” added Gaines.
That’s why some other African American healthcare providers alike are hoping to change the narrative, including dentist Dr. Sherry Babbage, who rolled up her sleeve.
“It’s OK to get the vaccine and that you're going to be okay when you get it. The alternative is getting COVID[-19],” added Babbage.
She and other leaders in the state are confronting the vaccine hesitancy among the Black community by using education as their weapon against the virus.
“It’s education. We need to educate our community, and that’s everybody, including healthcare professionals,” said Babbage.
Dr. Dorothy Thomas is a pediatrician who says she wants to set an example for Black people by being vaccinated.
"It doesn’t feel like something that is just fly by night. Again, if I didn’t feel comfortable, I wouldn’t get it, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to my patients,” explained Thomas.
She hopes her actions play a major role in providing clarity and trust in science.
“It’s going take time, but it’s important to take that first step, and if I can show that I'm okay with it. I hope that that will encourage someone else of color to feel the same way,” Dr. Thomas said.