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Ochsner Health doctors discuss why African Americans are distrustful of COVID-19 vaccine

Ochsner Health doctors discuss why African Americans are distrustful of COVID-19 vaccine
Ochsner Health doctors discuss why African Americans are distrustful of COVID-19 vaccine(KSLA)
Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 1:05 AM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published February 10, 2021 at 2:26 PM CST - Updated February 12 at 10:07 AM on ksla.com)

SHREVEPORT, La. (Great Health Divide) - Doctors at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport are talking about why there’s distrust in the COVID-19 vaccine among the African American community.

Doctors hosted a Facebook live Wednesday, Feb. 10 to address the issue and answer questions. The doctors addressed a lot of misinformation that’s circulating about the vaccine, and how they can encourage Black Americans to get the vaccine.

Dr. Eboni Price-Haywood and Dr. Victoria Smith both spoke on the issue.

They say their goal is to get the message out about the importance of the vaccine and the power of receiving the vaccine. Dr. Price-Haywood says it starts with handling mistrust about the vaccine.

“Stories about the syphilis trials with Tuskegee as well as Henrietta lax all of that is very fresh on the minds of the black community, and it’s something that we have to understand, to embrace but also move forward as to why the vaccine is safe,” Dr. Price-Haywood said.

Dr. Smith says misinformation about the vaccine needs to be clarified.

“There’s a myth that this went too fast that somehow this went too fast and maybe corners were cut that isn’t true especially with Phizer and Moderna vaccine use messenger RNA technology that has been in development and studied for two decades,” she said.

She added, “The death rates from COVID is about one and half times greater in African Americans.”

Dr. Price-Haywood says a solution to the problem is making resources about the vaccine available in communities where people may not know how to access it.

“A lot of folks are doing stuff on social media, but the reality is the people who probably need the information the most may not be on social media. So you have to have a grass-roots approach of literally going out and connecting with churches who have that access you need,” she said.

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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