We’re still months away from the COVID-19 vaccine being available to the general public but local organizations are already making efforts to alleviate public skepticism.
Common Ground Health has been doing outreach targeting specific communities since the start of the pandemic. The organization’s president Wade Norwood leads the Monroe County COVID-19 Vaccination task force outreach efforts.
Common Ground’s Facebook live series called “Myth Busters” is dedicated to health literacy. Host Dr. Linda Clark has spent much of the year answering pandemic-related questions. She said there are still many misconceptions about COVID-19 and the vaccine.
“We’ve heard things like Microsoft is using the injection to deliver a computer chip so that you can be traced, '' said Clark. “We’ve heard that it’s been engineered to react a different way for black people compared to other people. So we try to bust all those myths.”
Clark acknowledges the history of mistrust that many communities of color have with the healthcare system. She said it is up to the system that she herself is a part of to earn that trust.
“The health systems will have to be patient. I think that they are having some awakening in terms of the understanding of the harm that has come to black and brown people,” said Clark.
Clark said it is important for people who are hesitant to take the vaccine to do their research now so they can make an informed decision for when it becomes available.
She suggests the CDC, Mayo Clinic, Monroe County and the state health department’s websites as reliable sources of information about the virus and the vaccine.