I am having a conversation with my 72 year old African-American mother about the Covid-19 Vaccine. Now mind you, my mother is very much a vibrant, active senior. She works at our Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, GA cooking up delicious meals for our home-delivered meal program and her nickname is “Jazzy B”so you can only imagine!
Our conversation started when the news rolled out that Gwinnett County was now allowing persons 65 years and older to get vaccinated. I asked, “Mom, did you schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine?” Her Response, “I don’t plan on being the first in line.” As her always curious daughter, I wanted to learn more especially since I had been tasked with using my facility to provide the vaccine to the underrepresented community in the coming weeks.
Her reservations was the lack of confidence in the previous administration and because she did not have trust in that administration. She was not going to elect being a “guinea pig”. Also, growing up in the 1950s and 60s, there were many situations that cause African-Americans to hav a mistrust in the healthcare system. As stated in the article, Beyond Tuskegee, it discusses three historical atrocities- Sims, Lacks, Tuskegee- to explain Black communities’ distrust in healthcare systems and what we need to do as a community to learn from the past but change our present.
“…we need more public health messaging coming directly from Black health leaders, a challenge given that only 5% of U.S. physicians are Black. Black scientists sharing their stories is paramount because they can more directly relate and speak to their communities’ needs. The NAACP study found that Black Americans were twice as likely to trust a messenger of their own racial/ethnic group than one from outside it.”1
Now with the new administration in place, my mom felt she had developed a level of trust and was willing to learn more about the vaccine. She also listened in on a few calls hosted by AARP that helped her learn more about the vaccine and gain confidence in being vaccinated. Since our facility was a few weeks away from being a vaccine provider, she was able to get the vaccine at a location that was very comfortable and familiar as well as receive the vaccine by a healthcare professional that looked like her. This helped relieve much anxiety and lack of trust being we were able to have access to the vaccine.
So what is the turning point for you and what can you do to feel more comfortable about the Covid-19 Vaccine?
1. Understand the science behind the Covid-19 Vaccine.
There are articles all over the internet discussing the science behind Pfizer, Modern, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. This information can be found on the CDC website.
2. Talk about your concerns with a trusted family member or friend.
Family and friends can help ease any tensions you feel towards taking the Covid-19 Vaccine. Be honest and share your feelings.
3. Understand the benefits of taking the Covid-19 Vaccine.
Some benefits include bringing an end to this pandemic and reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
3. Go to a vaccination site that will make you feel comfortable.
Not every vaccination site is the same. There are drive-thru sites, doctor’s office sites, pharmacy sites, and more. McKinley Caregiver Resource Center vaccination clinic is one vaccination clinic that is unique. They treat all their patients with customized care. To make your appointment, click here: https://mckinley.eceptionist.com/live/
1Beyond Tuskegee – Vaccine Distrust and Everyday Racism by Simar Singh Bajaj and Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMpv2035827