LEXINGTON, Ky. — Vaccine hesitancy and distrust — that's what Gov. Andy Beshear along with community and faith leaders in Lexington are working to overcome so that more people in the African American community can get vaccinated to fight COVID-19.
"I proudly wear my buttons saying that I have taken a second dose...so I advise all my brothers and sisters to do the same," explains Rev. Dr. Jim Thurman, Ph.D., Ed.D., president of the NAACP Lexington-Fayette County Branch
Rev. Thurman says he was initially reluctant to take the vaccine because of historical reasons. But after much prayer and a recent health scare that landed him in the hospital, Thurman shared that he recently decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot.
"After much prayer, I saw the value of being vaccinated. COVID-19 was, and still is, hitting the African-American community and other communities of people of color, much harder. We need the vaccine," adds Thurman
Rev. Thurman is one of several black pastors and elected leaders, who voiced confidence Wednesday, along with taking the time to share words of encouragement for receiving the vaccine, with hopes to help break down some of the barriers that can lead to vaccine inequity in the African-American community.
"It is critical that the color of your skin or the size of your bank account, does not matter in the accessibility of getting this vaccine. We have a historic obligation to meet this moment," says Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky).
“As I've moved around and I've talked to people, the question is, how do you eat an elephant. The answer is one bite at a time. If we concentrate on the elephant, we'll never get the job done. So we've got to concentrate on the bites. The bites are the vaccine. That's the purest and only science we have now. That will hopefully get us through this pandemic and stop infections and the loss of life," explains Kentucky State Representative George Brown (D-Lexington)
According to state leaders, Black Kentuckians make up approximately 8.4% of Kentucky’s 4.5 million population and account for about 4.6% of those who have been vaccinated so far.