COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts face racial disparities, particularly in African American communities

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — As COVID-19 vaccines get distributed, some doctors say there are racial disparities involved in distribution efforts.

Health officials said the African American community is falling behind compared to other races. According to Dothan Behavioral Medicine Clinic Dr. Jerlyn McCleod, there are several reasons why this is happening.

“A lot of hesitation from the African American community kind of goes back to a lot of racial tensions that stirred up over the summer, African-American communities’ perception of science,” McCleod said. “There’s just a real sense of who can we trust.”

She feels political divides in the country adds to distribution problems.

“I think a lot of African American physicians and scientists have made a concerted effort to get the information out that we feel that the vaccine is safe,” McCleod said.

According to Dr. McCleod, the vaccine is safe and the science behind it is solid. That’s why she has received the vaccine herself.

“If it is available to you, you’re not doing yourself a good service by restricting your turn from getting access to a genetically-engineered, perfect vaccine,” McCleod said.

Overall, Dr. McCleod said the vaccine will help get the United States healthy once again. In the meantime, doctors encourage people to continue wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and most importantly, getting vaccinated.

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