Evansville leaders working to combat skepticism, lack of COVID vaccine access in Black communities

Evansville leaders working to combat skepticism, lack of COVID vaccine access in Black communities

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Local leaders with the NAACP are working to combat skepticism for the coronavirus vaccine among the Black community.

“Some think that it’s just a trick, you know, to get us to take it,” Rev. Gerald Arnold, Evansville NAACP president said.

“It’s not inconceivable that people might see massive efforts being pushed like that, and being told ‘Hey, you need to get this and you need to do this,’ when medicine has a history of racism long before Tuskegee,” Dr. Thomas Stratton, health chair of the Evansville NAACP chapter said.

To combat skepticism, the chapter is hosting a series of town hall events on multiple Saturdays throughout February. Among other things, the events will discuss vaccine efficacy and educate communities about the vaccine.

Besides issues with skepticism, Rev. Arnold and Dr. Stratton both said there is limited access to the vaccine for those in Black communities.

“We account for 15% of the COVID deaths,” Rev. Arnold said. “But we’re only being vaccinated at 5%.”

”According to recent studies of vaccination rates, white people are getting it - the vaccines - over twice the rate over Black residents of Indiana,” Dr. Stratton said.

The doctor also says it could be difficult for the older population to sign up on the phone or computer.

“The older population probably skews toward white people, okay? Because of longevity and life expectancy, there are huge and significant differences there,” Dr. Stratton said. “And that is another way in which access in Indiana at least, and many other states, favors white communities.”

These town halls will be streamed on the Evansville NAACP official Facebook page each Saturday in February. The events will start at 10 a.m.

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