(GREENVILLE, S.C. – WSPA) – Nearly 50-million dollars in aid is on its way to South Carolina from the Centers for Disease Control, in an effort to expand the state’s COVID vaccine programs.
The latest data from the CDC shows a significant difference in vaccinations being administered to White people compared to Black people and Hispanic/Latino populations. The money from the CDC will focus on expanding access to those disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus.
Araceli Hernandez-Laroche said it’s important for the Latinx community to get vaccinated, for our families, our schools, and our community.
But she knows there are some barriers in the way.
“I think that there’s vaccine hesitancy because sometimes we don’t have a doctor, we don’t have health insurance, we don’t know that the vaccine is free,” said Hernandez-Laroche.
She said there needs to be more outreach.
“So that’s why we really need consistent messaging, outreach, education, bridge-building between the hospitals, health professionals, and the community,” said Hernandez-Laroche.
According to a press release from the CDC, 75-percent of the total funding for South Carolina will focus on programs and initiatives aimed at getting more vaccines into racial and ethnic minority communities.
Some of the money could be put toward training individuals to conduct door-to-door outreach efforts or helping people sign up for appointments, or hiring workers who can focus on bilingual outreach.
The CDC says 60-percent of the funds must also help support community-based health clinics.
Hernandez-Laroche notes representation in the medical profession also plays a big role.
“I really want to urge us to think about representation, that representation matters,” Hernandez-Laroche said. “So we need to see health professionals who look like the communities that they serve.”
She said some are also hesitant due to history.
“Should I go get the vaccine when I know that in recent history there have been these experiments that have really hurt the Black and Hispanic communities?” asked Hernandez-Laroche.
Doctor Ryan Brown is an Emergency Room Physician at Bon Secours Saint Francis.
He too agrees that history plays a role in skepticism, but also argues there should be more information available to minorities about the vaccines and who is creating them.
“Just letting under-represented or minorities know there are those who have participated in the development of vaccinations,” said Dr. Brown.
Both parties noting the only way to put an end to the pandemic is to be receptive to the idea of getting vaccinated.