Doctors look to lower levels of ‘vaccine hesitancy’ in communities of color

DAYTON — As the Covid vaccine begins to be distributed, there is still a significant percentage of the population that is unsure about taking the vaccine, especially in communities of color.

Dr. LaDonna Barnes-Lark, an internal medicine and pediatric provider at Charles Drew Health Center, knows that the community is worried about the vaccine due to a history of being underserved when it comes to healthcare.

“It’s a long history of deception in healthcare with minority and African-American patients,” said Dr. Barnes-Lark.

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That history of deception and being underserved was echoed in a national survey done one month ago. In the survey, only 42 percent of African American adults said they were willing to take the vaccine.

“There is a lot of vaccine hesitancy in general,” said Dr. Anna Roetker, medical director of the Community Health Centers of Dayton.

Both Dr. Roetker and Dr. Barnes-Lark say they are working to educate their patients, friends and employees on the vaccine.

“[We’re] making sure they understand the safety, understand the need, answering all their questions,” said Dr. Roetker

Dr. Barnes-Lark wants to lead by example in hopes to overcome the historical hesitancy and encourage more patients to get the vaccine.

“I feel like they’ve done enough research and I do want to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Barnes-Lark.

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