UK planning study to address vaccine hesitancy among minority groups

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 12:05 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A University of Kentucky study launching this summer hopes to understand COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among minority populations.

Despite experts’ pleas for us to get vaccinated, some communities are still left unsure.

Researchers at UK say African American populations are among them.

“We are living in an era now where everybody really is almost living in their own reality via what they see on social media,” Rev. Clark Williams said.

Rev. Williams with Shiloh Baptist Church says mistrust of the pharmaceutical and medical industries also play a part.

He says historically, vaccines have been used to experiment on Black people.

“So you have all of those things kind of working together to create a scenario where some people are quite hesitant,” Rev. Williams said.

Researchers at UK are trying to combat this.

Throughout spring of 2021, the university partnered with predominantly Black churches to provide mobile vaccine clinics. Now, researchers hope to get insight from people who worked at these clinics.

Then they’ll use what they find to market the shots in a way that promotes trust.

Rev. Williams’ church took part, and he’s hoping to share a message with his congregation.

“Certainly as a Christian one of the things I would point to is that when we’ve been given a tool that is showing itself to be effective, then we’re supposed to use that tool,” he said.

When considering how to reach out to people who are still hesitant, Reverend Clark says it helps to tell personal stories people can identify with.

After the study’s finished next year, the research team plans to publish the results.

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