TAMPA — Right now there’s still a huge effort to get minority communities vaccinated for COVID-19.
“For communities of color in particular, when you take a look at the numbers all around the country, we find that we have been much more affected. At one point we were three times more likely to die from getting infected with COVID-19. And it’s not because of anything special or unique about the race or ethnicity or the individual, but we’re dealing with decades and even centuries now of health inequities, lack of access to health care,” said Dr. Kevin Sneed, Dean of University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.
Experts say all of that has resulted in minority groups statistically having a worse outcome from COVID-19, which is why there’s such a push to get them vaccinated.
However, there’s been a lot of hesitancy for people of color to want to get the vaccine.
“Overall the mistrust in the system, stemming back into the Tuskegee experiment and mistrust and research overall,” said Sneed.
That experiment was in the early 1900s when the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a study on Syphilis using 600 Black men living in Tuskegee, Alabama. The men never got the free health care they were promised and were denied treatment. Many of those men died.
Doctors say now, the trust is slowly growing and more minority groups are wanting to get vaccinated.
“These vaccines have been looked at, they’ve been looked at across the board in all different persons of different backgrounds and they’ve been shown to be consistently safe and consistently effective,” said Dr. Laura Arline, Chief Quality Officer of BayCare Health System.
“Take the opportunity to live. Right now we know people are being infected,” said Sneed.
Doctors say the vaccine is the best tool we have to fight the pandemic and the sooner we can get more people vaccinated, the better for us all.