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LSU Health Shreveport doctor discusses low rate of African Americans getting COVID-19 vaccine

Many people lined up Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Louisiana State...
Many people lined up Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport.(KSLA)
Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 12:42 AM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published February 5, 2021 at 1:56 PM CST - Updated February 5 at 10:45 PM on ksla.com)

SHREVEPORT, La. (Great Health Divide) - Both across the country and in the ArkLaTex area, there is a persistent disparity in vaccination rates among African Americans.

LSH Health Shreveport Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John Vanchiere says he’s encouraged to see more Black Americans getting the vaccine, but that it’s still not enough. He points to several contributing factors as to why this group may be avoiding the shot, including a lack of trust in the vaccine itself.

“There has been more vaccine hesitancy in the African-American population and that’s something that we have to work on as physicians and providers to make sure that we have earned their trust and they understand the issues,” said Dr. Vanchiere.

Some say issues of the past may also be causing hesitancy with the vaccine.

“It’s based upon past history. If you’re familiar with the Tuskeegee Airman. Well, that’s the nation, it’s based upon past experiences and the fear of the unknown,” said Billy Wayne of Shreveport.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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