BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The CDC says minorities have been more likely to have serious complications with COVID-19, but a number of studies say there are far less likely to get a vaccine. However, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is hoping to change that for minority groups.
Though it’ll be months before the average person can get a shot, LDH says their work starts now. They’re making special plans to ensure minorities get a coronavirus vaccine.
“So, it’s very important that we meet with people and where they are, and so that’s why we will be providing those services,” says. LDH’s Dr. Earl Benjamin Robinson.
Dr. Robinson says that some minorities may be less willing to get a shot because of language barriers or because they’ve had uniquely bad experiences with health care in the past.
“For African Americans, for Asian Americans, for Hispanic Americans, for immigrants living here what I would like to stress is that we understand, and we are paying attention to the experiences that you are having. We are paying attention to what it is that you are telling us,” adds Dr. Robinson.
That’s why LDH started early using online advertising to let minorities know a vaccine was on its way. That sort of targeted messaging will continue, and the department of health is also relying on schools, churches, and community centers to help get the word out.
“We have to have conversations about that in order to build trust in the communities, and so we just don’t want to just ‘hey go get the vaccine.’ We want to say, ‘here are the facts.’ The facts are masking up, social distancing, hand washing, and FDA approved vaccines,” says Dr. Robinson.
Once the vaccine is widely available, LDH will set up mobile vaccination sites in neighborhoods they might not reach otherwise, much like the testing tents seen back in the summertime.
The state is still studying why minorities may not get vaccinated, so they’ll know how to get more people a shot by the end of the summer. LDH will also post educational charts and fact sheets online in languages like Spanish and Vietnamese. The state’s health equity task force has been working on this plan since the spring.
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