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Video series with Black health leaders answer vaccine questions

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 2:08 PM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published March 5, 2021 at 7:05 PM CST - Updated March 8 at 1:13 PM on wmcactionnews5.com)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Great Health Divide) - Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? Why was it developed so quickly? Those are just a couple of the many questions Black Americans have.

A new video series featuring Black health professionals hopes to provide some answers.

In Tennessee, black people make up 17 percent of the population, but only 7.8 percent of that population has been vaccinated so far, mirroring a trend happening nationwide.

More: City of Memphis opens 35,000 vaccine appointments for next week

“We’ve seen from data from Kaiser Family Foundation, that the percentages of black folks who are interested in getting vaccinated is increasing, but that there’s still about a third of black folks who are waiting to see how it works before deciding,” said Dr. Rhea Boyd, Pediatrician and Public Health Advocate.

Dr. Rhea Boyd is a pediatrician and public health advocate who’s working to educate African Americans about the vaccine through new video series titled The Conversation: Between us, For Us.

“Despite black folks having the second highest COVID mortality rate, we now rank second to last and access to the COVID vaccine. So the purpose of this campaign is to provide black folks with the credible information they need to make this choice,” she said.

The series includes more than two dozen videos including one hosted by comedian W. Kamau Bell.

They feature health experts answering commonly asked questions surrounding the vaccine, a major one being safety.

For more stories on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit wmcactionnews5.com/coronavirus.

“Vaccines are absolutely safe,” said Dr. Boyd. “They were found to be safe in the clinical trials that included 10s of 1000s, of Americans. And now, that more than 50 million Americans have received the vaccine. We know even for rare outcomes, the vaccines are safe.”

The number of black Tennesseans is up 2 percent from late January.

Dr. Boyd said progress is slowly being made nationwide.

“We know that one of the major factors that shape whether somebody chooses to get a vaccine to cope with vaccines is whether they know somebody who already got a COVID vaccine. So the more black folks who make the decision to get the vaccine, we know that that’s encouraging,” 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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