Community leaders outline COVID-19 vaccine plans for minority communities

Leaders reach out to marginalized communities to ease concerns about COVID-19 vaccine

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Community leaders pushed Monday night, to reach marginalized communities and build their trust in the COVID-19 vaccines. Doctors, public health experts and leaders in the minority community answered questions as part of a virtual forum held to address issues about the vaccine.

Experts believe there are hurdles to overcome, including our nation’s history of racism in medical research. The hope is Monday’s forum increases confidence in the vaccine, while debunking any rumors.

“We really need to, as a whole, consider taking this because the other result is not good,” said Deborah Maxwell, NAACP President. “Everyone participates; there’s no discrimination of color in the trials; there’s no discrimination of color in the people receiving it. So, we need to go forward and follow the protocols of whatever New Hanover is going to dictate.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), of the volunteers who were part of the trial for the vaccine, around 22 percent of people were Latino, almost 10 percent black and 81 percent white.

But while those numbers are spread out, there’s a communication barrier in the county that community leaders feel prevented Hispanics from getting the right information.

“A big issue is meeting the community where they are,” said Rebecca Carpenter, NC Central Advanced Center for COVID disparities. “For the Hispanic community I think a language barrier is an issue, timely communication is an issue and communication.”

Health officials though, say they have a plan to educate everybody about the COVID-19 vaccine and make sure that when it is fully available, everybody has easy access.

“There’s several different categories of marginalized populations and we are working on putting a plan in place for the county,” said Carla Turner, NHC Health Department. “We are determining sites around the county that are easy access for these neighborhoods, either bus lines or within walking distance so we can offer clinics at those sights when we move into those phases. We’re also going to work with home health agencies to see what we can do to assist them and see what we can do to get them vaccinated and get them registered when it’s time for them to go to their home residents so we are putting plans in place around that.”

NHRMC is in phase 1A of its vaccination process, which is for front-line healthcare workers.

The timeline for when everybody else will get the vaccine is still uncertain, but they are confident it is safe for everybody.

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