Covid-19 Vaccine

Conn., Nonprofit Partner on COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach to Minority Communities

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Connecticut is partnering with a Hartford-based nonprofit organization, which advocates for health equity across the state, to reach out to more than 10,000 minority residents over the next three months and dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The arrangement announced Friday is part of the state’s efforts to reach out to Black and Latino communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and may be reticent to get vaccinated.

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“We want to ensure that communities at highest risk have equitable access to the vaccines that will protect them and allow everyone to return to a sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Deidre Gifford, the state’s acting public health commissioner, in a statement. “The team at Health Equity Solutions will strengthen and enhance our outreach efforts in the Black and Latino communities.”

The organization plans to focus on faith-based and education-based networks to reach the widest audience possible, providing people with information about the vaccine.

As states and medical centers roll out COVID-19 vaccines, many are highlighting recipients from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds to build trust. This is in part due to vaccine hesitancy, especially in Black communities where a history of medical testing without consent and inadequate access to health care has built distrust. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds only 20 percent of Black Americans and 26 percent of Hispanic Americans said they'd get a vaccine "as soon as possible."

There will be a particular focus on issues concerning distrust of the medical system within the state’s Black community. That distrust in the government and the medical community is often linked to the Tuskegee experiment, in which Black men in Alabama were left untreated for syphilis as part of a study that ran from the 1930s into the ’70s.

Health Equity Solutions already hosted webinars that have reached more than 3,000 people, and more than 20 events have been scheduled, with more being planned.

“We wish there was not a pandemic at all, but we are ready, willing, and able to make sure that people have accurate information to make a timely decision that is best for themselves and their family,” said Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette, the organization’s executive director.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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