Vaccine hesitancy dropping in local Black communities, advocates say

But will Tuesday’s news from Johnson & Johnson prompt a reversal of course?
Vaccine hesitancy dropping in local Black communities, advocates say
Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati’s Black physicians are coming together to encourage vaccinations in the Black community.

It’s a task that got more difficult Tuesday as the CDC issued new guidance on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following six reported incidents of blood clots among the 6.4 million J&J vaccines used nationwide.

Renee Mahaffey Harris is president and CEO of Center For Closing the Health Gap.

Harris says CHG and the Cincinnati Medical Association have created and distributed an open letter to the Black community.

The letter is read throughout monthly town halls. It’s designed to educate Black and brown residents about the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations and the importance of getting their shots as soon as possible.

Harris says vaccine uptake among Black Cincinnatians is increasing.

“As more people, more family members of all ages have taken the vaccine, and people have seen they’re ok, I think that has played a really big role in changing some of the hesitancy,” she said.

She hopes the trend continues with the J&J news.

“Out of 6 million people who have taken the J&J vaccine, a handful of people have had impacts,” e taken all the vaccines and hav been in the trials,” Harris explained. “I’m not minimizing that, but (...) I think having information and understanding and making your own informed decision is what I hope we can continue to do — continue to educate.”

Harris said it makes a big difference that Johnson & Johnson, together with the federal government, decided to make the information public immediately.

“I think that transparency, yes, that might cause someone to pause... But at the end of the day, we know what COVID-19 is doing to us,” she said.

The next virtual town hall will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday. You can access it on the Center for Closing the Health Gap Facebook page.

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