New public information campaign answers black questions about COVID-19 vaccines – The Undefeated


Black Americans, who are twice as likely as whites to die from COVID-19, are also less likely to be vaccinated. But a new public service campaign launched on YouTube on Thursday aims to change that.

The campaign, called The conversation: between us, about us, is a partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black Coalition Against COVID. The video series addresses concerns about the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and is designed to promote medical literacy, combat misinformation and be sensitive to how black people use the internet, said one of the developers of the effort.

“These are conversations we already have,” said Rhea Boyd, pediatrician and public health advocate, who developed the series with Reed Tuckson, founding member of the Black Coalition Against COVID. “Black people are already talking to their family, neighbors, friends, other black strangers online about how they feel about the vaccine and what they are considering.

“So we just want to broaden this conversation to include those of us who work in the health care field to say, ‘You know, I have the same conversation with my mom. I had it with my grandma. I just had it with my aunt who, after talking for a few months, decided to get the vaccine when their employer made it available to them, ”” she said.

The main obstacles to vaccinating blacks are not having enough facts and not having convenient access, Boyd said. “So our goal with this project is to respect the questions and concerns of black people, and not to label them explicitly as ‘vaccine hesitant’, but to treat them like the sophisticated health care consumers that they are, and to ensure that their questions and concerns are addressed in a way that speaks to them directly.

Launch video features comedian W. Kamau Bell, host and executive producer of the CNN series United Shades of America. “There is good news out there – there is a COVID-19 vaccine,” Bell says in the video. “The bad news is that as black people it’s hard to trust what’s going on.” The solution is to look to those we trust, says Bell. “Not just your uncle at the barbecue. In fact not him at all. I’m talking about black scientists, black doctors, and black nurses.

“We don’t just post something online and hope black people find it,” Boyd said. “We hope this works like the way people use the internet, that when you go to YouTube, if you have a question and you want to go down a rabbit hole, we have a safe rabbit hole to go where all the information is credible. . “

Dr. Janice Blanchard, emergency physician and professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, participated in the video series developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black Coalition Against COVID.


The series will include up to 50 videos dealing with the immunization process and the needs of specific groups. These include videos on how vaccines work and definitions of clinical trials and herd immunity. There is a video to respond to the rumor that vaccines cause infertility, which Boyd says is false. There is an explanation of the “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine development process and a video to talk about side effects. There is information about children, the elderly, and people with HIV and others, such as pregnant women, with weakened immune systems.

Since mid-February, one third of black adults were taking a wait-and-see approach with the vaccine. Among those who had received at least one dose of vaccine and where the breed was identified, only 6% are black, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Joseph R. Biden on Tuesday announcement there will be enough doses for every American adult to be vaccinated by the end of May, months ahead of schedule. When enough vaccines become available, the Biden administration plans to launch a Billion dollar public awareness campaign encourage people to get vaccinated.

Much of what is attributed to reluctance to vaccinate among blacks is actually some form of patient blame, Boyd said. Black people “have legitimate concerns that we as a health care system have not addressed,” she said. “I used the example: Surgeons don’t tell patients before surgery, ‘Trust me, in the operating room’, do they? Nobody does that. The standard of care is informed consent. You need to sit down with someone and give all the information including the alternatives and the risks that arise if you don’t get this procedure. We don’t give that to black people, and that’s the standard of care. Instead, we say you are “vaccine hesitant”. … I want us to change the way we approach it.

Boyd hopes The conversation The series can be part of this shift and any federal public awareness effort to bring COVID-19 information to black communities.

His main fear is that the large health care organizations with the most power and resources will continue to label black people as “vaccine hesitant,” and dismiss their legitimate concerns and not allocate resources to donate. to blacks specific types of information, then make the vaccine available in their garden.

“It’s touching,” Boyd said. “My grandma called me and just said, ‘Rhea, my doctor called me and said I could get the vaccine. You know, what do you think? Boyd said she pointed out that they hadn’t seen each other for over a year and that she had spent Christmas alone.

“These vaccines are what will get us back together into the community when we are all protected to do so,” Boyd said. “So we really want to make sure that, you know, black people know it’s there for them, that it’s safe and that we’re willing to go to great lengths to make sure everyone has all the issues of concern that they responded. “

Lonnae O’Neal is a senior screenwriter at The Undefeated. She’s an author, a former columnist, she has children and she writes bird by bird.


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