Black Americans were much less likely to be vaccinated than white Americans. But a wave of pro-vaccine campaigns and a surge of virus deaths have narrowed that gap, experts say.
TUSKEGEE, Ala – By the time coronavirus vaccines were introduced late last year, the pandemic had taken two of Lucenia Williams Dunn’s close friends. Still, Ms Dunn, Tuskegee’s former mayor, pondered for months whether to be vaccinated.
It was a complex idea, framed by the government’s failed response to the pandemic, its disproportionate toll on black communities, and an infamous 40-year government experiment to which his hometown is often associated.
“I thought about the vaccine most every day,” said Ms Dunn, 78, who finally went to a pharmacy this summer and rolled up her sleeve for a shot, not weighing in with her family and doctor. After being convinced about the possible consequences of
“People need to understand that some of the hesitation is rooted in a terrifying history, and for some, it’s the process of asking the right questions to actually get the vaccine.”
In the first months after the vaccine rollout, black Americans were much less likely to be vaccinated than white Americans. In addition to the difficulty of getting shots in their communities, their hesitation was driven by a powerful combination of general mistrust of government and medical institutions, and misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
Experts say a wave of pro-vaccine campaigns and a wave of hospitalizations and deaths this summer, mostly fueled by the non-vaccinated and highly contagious Delta variant, have narrowed the gap. So, too, get a vaccine and full approval of the new employer mandate from the Food and Drug Administration. A strong resistance to vaccines in some white communities may also have contributed to the reduction of inequality.
While gaps persist in some areas, until the end of September, according to Most Recent Survey by Kaiser Family FoundationNearly equal parts of the black, white and Hispanic adult population — 70 percent of black adults, 71 percent of white adults and 73 percent of Hispanic adults — had received at least one vaccine dose. a pew study A similar pattern was detected in late August. Federal data shows a large racial gap, but that data is missing demographic information for many vaccine recipients.
Since May, when vaccines were widely available to most adults nationwide, monthly surveys by Kaiser have shown a steady improvement in vaccination rates among black Americans.
How the racial gap was bridged – after months of disappointing polling and limited access – is a testament to decisions made in many states, which are knocking on doors and dispelling myths about the effectiveness of vaccines from familiar faces. To send to, provide Internet access to appointments and offers. Transport to vaccine sites.
In North Carolina, where vaccine providers are required to collect race and ethnicity data, hospital systems and community groups campaigned door-to-door and hosted pop-up clinics in theme parks, bus stations and churches. Over the summer, the African American portion of the vaccinated population began to more closely reflect the African American portion of the general population.
In Mississippi, which has one of the worst vaccination rates in the country and has launched similar efforts, 38 percent of people who have started the vaccine process are Black, a share that is equivalent to the Black portion of Mississippi’s population. .
And in Alabama, public awareness campaigns and rides to vaccination sites helped turn dismal vaccination rates. A store owner and county commissioner in Panola, a small rural town near the Mississippi border, led an effort to vaccinate his nearly all-black community.
Today, about 40 percent of Black Alabama residents — up from about 28 percent at the end of April — have received at least one dose, a feat in a state that ranks among the lowest in overall vaccination rates and highest in deaths per capita. is on. 19. About 39 percent of white people in the state had a diet, up from 31 percent at the end of April.
Health officials and community leaders say those who live without vaccination have pointed to concerns about how quickly vaccines developed and what long-term health effects they might have, as well as propaganda such as Tracking devices involve or alter people’s DNA. The damage caused by government-backed trials at Tuskegee, in which black families were misled by health care professionals, is also playing a role in some communities, helping to explain why some African Americans are still left out.
“It’s less about saying, ‘This racial ethnic group is more hesitant, more reluctant to vaccinate,’ and it’s more about saying, ‘You know, this group of people in this area or this The community doesn’t have access to the information or information they need to overcome their hesitation, said Nelson Dunlap, chief of staff at the Sacher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.
When the U.S. Public Health Service began the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” 600 black men—399 with syphilis and 201 without the disease—were told they would be treated for so-called bad blood in return. For free medical examination, food and burial insurance. In fact the treatment was stopped. Even after penicillin was discovered as an effective treatment, most did not receive an antibiotic.
The experiment began in 1932 and did not stop until 1972, and only after it was exposed in a news article. The surviving men and the heirs of those who died were later awarded a settlement of about $10 million, and the risk of the study eventually led to improvements in medical research. Nevertheless, the loss endured.
“Some families survived the study. Everyone here knows someone who was in the study,” said Omar Neal, 64, a radio show host and former Tuskegee Mayor who counts three relatives in the study and who eventually became a Stagger on a vaccine before they happen, they change their mind by the increasing number of deaths.” And the betrayal—because that was the study—often whenever people are questioning distrustful medicine or something related to science. “
Reuben C., director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University. Warren said the study served as a true example in the long line of medical abuse and neglect experienced by black Americans, undermining trust in government and health. care system.
What to know about COVID-19 booster shots
The FDA authorized booster shots for a select group of people who received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago. That group includes: Pfizer recipients who are 65 years of age or older or who live in long-term care facilities; Adults who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition; Health care workers and others whose jobs put them at risk. People with a weakened immune system are eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna four weeks after the second shot.
Regulators have yet to authorize booster shots for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but an FDA panel is about to meet to weigh booster shots for adult recipients of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The CDC states that conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: high blood pressure and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorder; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; Dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.
The FDA authorized boosters for workers whose jobs put them at high risk of coming into contact with potentially infectious people. The CDC says the group includes: emergency medical workers; education worker; food and agricultural workers; construction workers; improvement worker; US Postal Service employees; public transport workers; Grocery store workers.
It is not recommended. For now, Pfizer vaccine recipients are advised to get the Pfizer booster shot, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients should wait until booster doses are approved from those manufacturers.
Yes. The CDC says the COVID vaccine can be administered regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy sites are allowing people to schedule the flu shot at the same time as a booster dose.