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Minority Vaccine Hesitancy Continues

Experts fear increased hesitancy with recent vaccine developments

While more than 94 million Americans are fully vaccinated, Atlanta-based health equity company Just Health Collective warns the recent reintroduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and potential Pfizer booster shot may increase hesitancy in communities of color, putting Black and Hispanic communities further at risk.  

“While minority vaccine efforts have been challenging, it continues to be an uphill battle as we learn more about potential side effects,” says Duane Reynolds, founder and CEO of Just Health Collective.

The vaccine—which faced an uphill battle because of a distrust of the medical community in communities of color—may see more hesitancy after federal health officials recommended a temporary halt in the use of the Johnson & Johnson single dose, which has now resumed in more than 30 states. Additionally, conversations continue about a potential Pfizer booster shot.

“Particularly when we consider minorities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19—we can’t deny that recent vaccine hiccups may even widen the gap when it comes to vaccine distribution in the most vulnerable populations,” adds Reynolds, noting that by addressing internal challenges in the health care system, medical professionals can help earn more trust. “We need to focus on education and weighing the risks of getting the vaccine vs. not. There are compelling reasons why communities of color, in particular, should be vaccinating.”

The national organization Just Health Collective has helped some of the most prominent health care organizations including the Seattle Children’s Hospital, United Health Group, and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics as the pandemic continued to highlight health care inequities. Reynolds founded Just Health Collective after previously serving as the chief of inclusion and diversity at Optum Advisory Services and as president and CEO of the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. He has also held other prominent leadership roles at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Emory Healthcare and OhioHealth.

Source: Just Health Collective