Lexington health officials work to promote positive message about vaccine

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – A December report from the Pew Research Center shows 42% of African Americans say they would get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In September, just 14 percent of African Americans polled said they’d get the vaccine.

So, why aren’t these numbers higher in the African American community, and what challenges face the local health department in getting a positive message out?

Kacy Allen-Bryant is a member of the Lexington Fayette County Board of Health. She says there is a lag in vaccination rates in minority communities in Fayette County. She says this is something they battle every year no matter the illness.

To combat disparities the health department has set up drive-thru vaccination for the flu, but the COVID-19 vaccination will be different.

“We will be working with local community members to spread the message of this vaccine is safe, this vaccine is needed,” Allen-Bryant said.

But for some in the African American community, the word vaccination can conjure up hesitation.

“We’re still fighting the ghost of the past and there were times in our history where our African-American communities were experimented on, even by our government,” Allen-Bryant said. “So, there are still some fears if this is experimental that this is not safe.”

Allen-Bryant understands why those fears may still exist but she says rest assured this vaccine will be safe.

“It’s been tested on Black males, Black women,” Allen-Bryant said. “It’s safe. It has gone through rigorous testing. It’s just been a little bit faster because of what’s been going on in our nation.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has not yet released a vaccination plan. They say those details are still being hammered out.

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