COVID-19 vaccine distribution is picking up speed in many places. With a plentiful supply of vaccine, there will be more urgency to persuade those reluctant to accept it. In September 2020, 49% of Americans told the Pew research group they probably or definitely wouldn’t take the vaccine. By February, that number had fallen to 30%.
The early data we have on vaccination rates shows that Black Americans are getting vaccinated at a much slower rate than their white counterparts. This is troubling given how hard the pandemic has hit Black American.
Some say vaccine hesitancy is caused, in part, by a history of medical exploitation and mistreatment toward people of color in the United States. A grant from the Oshkosh COVID-19 Relief Fund supporting African Heritage’s “Get The Shot” campaign aims to address this. It features well-respected community leaders who live and work across northeast Wisconsin getting their vaccinations.
Others point to a lack of vaccination access as a cause. To help make sure that all who are eligible have access to vaccine appointments, the Winnebago County Health Department has reserved a portion of their appointments to directly assist people that experience barriers such as technology access and language and communication challenges. Furthermore, the Community Foundation established the COVID Vaccine Transportation Fund to make sure that transportation to vaccination appointments is not a barrier.