As Moderna and Pfizer roll out the first set of COVID-19 vaccine doses, a number of civil rights groups are aiming to inform Black communities about the vaccine. Leading the way, the NAACP is leading a town hall regarding the treatment featuring physician Marcella Nunez-Smith, National Institute of Health senior researcher Kizzmekia Corbett and Sen. Cory Booker.
“The vaccine acceptance effort is focused on what we are calling ‘the movable middle,’” Department of Health and Human Services Spokesperson Mark Weber said.
“Both the message and messengers must be credible. We are rapidly conducting research with key audiences to ensure the message and the advertising are effective. These issues along with many others are shaping the public education strategy.”
An effective vaccine could help many Black Americans as the virus continues to ravage marginalized communities. Black Americans are 2.7 times more likely to die from the coronavirus and 3.8 times more likely to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus than white Americans. However, many Black Americans do not have a strong sense of trust in regards to the healthcare system. Within the last year, one in five Black Americans reportedly experienced discrimination when seeking healthcare. Furthermore, one in four Black Americans stated that it was difficult to find healthcare in a convenient location. As a result, only 42% of Black Americans say they feel comfortable getting the vaccine. To overcome the distrust of the healthcare system, members of civil rights organizations have expressed that transparency from the incoming Biden administration and a strong marketing campaign will determine whether or not how many Black Americans voluntarily get the vaccine.
“There's really been no transparency with respect to the distribution plan that's been put together by the Trump administration. We hear that health care workers will get it first. We hear that vulnerable Americans will get it, but there's been no clear definition of who are vulnerable Americans," National Urban League President Marc Morial said.
“There has to be a well-thought-out, well-funded advertising campaign which is designed to give people information. People need to know that the clinical trials process included people of all backgrounds, all races. People have to understand why the process around testing for this vaccine [was] very different than what happened during the Tuskegee experiment."
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