PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Researchers say around 70% of Americans need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to achieve herd immunity. That’s why the medical community is trying to tackle vaccine hesitancy within communities of color.
“There are some things that have happened in our American history that have been truly atrocious against various marginalized groups,” says Dr. Alyx Porter, associate professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic Arizona. “Because of that history, this concern and this skepticism gets passed down.”
Porter says some studies suggest up to 60% of African Americans are wary of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. She says more than 30% of Latinos have concerns about the vaccine.
“There’s (sic) so many reasons for the level of mistrust or confusion or concern surrounding the speed that the vaccine was developed in or how it’s being distributed,” says Porter.
“Now more than ever, there are so many protections in place and so much, sort of, rigor in terms of protecting folks to make sure that we’re really doing the right thing all the time.”
Fred Taylor documented his vaccination Thursday morning at State Farm Stadium. Taylor works for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office educating faith communities about the opioid epidemic. Now he’s turned his attention to this deadly virus.
“I want to do everything that I possibly can to help people avoid this situation,” says Taylor. “If I have to walk water to make that happen, I will try to do that.”
Taylor, an 82-year-old African American man, says he wants to encourage everyone, especially minorities, that the vaccine is safe.
“So much of that misinformation is going out there,” says Taylor. “You get it up to your eyeballs, but you have to get past that.”
Taylor has lost loved ones to COVID-19, including friends who attended a funeral during the pandemic. He was invited but did not go.
Instead, Taylor is asking everyone to continue to wear a mask, washing their hands, and keeping their distance.
Dr. Porter, who has now received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, is one of several physicians answering questions in a series of virtual town halls hosted by the Mayo Clinic.
The first town hall happened Thursday night, and Mayo has another scheduled for Jan. 28 and a Feb. 4 town hall will be conducted in Spanish.
Information on registering for those events will soon be released.