Miami Valley black medical professionals urge communities of color to get vaccinated

MIAMI VALLEY — State numbers show, communities of color are not getting vaccinated at the same rate as white people.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 31.2 percent of white people have been vaccinated while 16.7 percent of black people have gotten the shot.

“The vaccines are here. They’re available. There’s no need to wait. The time is now,” Dr. Terri Moncrief said.

She is a member of Gem City Medical Dental Pharmaceutical Society, an association of black health care professionals.

The group partnered with Premier Health to address resistance in communities of color.

“I think it’s important for patients to see people who look like them, scientists, medical professionals who look like them, who know the science, who know what to look for, and who are able to reassure our patients that it is safe,” Dr. Moncrief said.

Gem City Medical Dental Pharmaceutical Society and Premier Health set up vaccine clinics in Dayton’s Northwest Branch Library.

“Just this past weekend, I’m at the clinic, and I’m holding individuals’ hands as they are getting the vaccine,” Premier Health Chief of Shared Services Eloise Broner said. “But you know what’s important? They’re getting the vaccine. I’ll hold as many people’s hands in this community as I need to if that will help vaccinate more individuals in this community.”

Carla Pettiford got her second shot at Saturday’s clinic. She admits, she was reluctant at first.

“There’s been a history, particularly in our community, of some things that were done to us that were a little untoward, and so I did have some hesitancy initially,” Pettiford said.

Dr. Moncrief acknowledges the problems from the past, but said the Covid vaccines are different.

“This isn’t one of those situations of past where there’s been good medication, good medical care that’s been withheld,” Dr. Moncrief said. “When the vaccine was being studied, that there were physicians and scientists of color that were at the forefront of this cutting edge science.”

She said, it is critical for people of color to get vaccinated, as they are two and a half times more likely to die from Covid.

“It is a nice security to know that I’ve done this and safeguarded myself against the virus,” Pettiford said.

She is encouraging others to follow.

“I urge especially those in the black community and brown communities to get your dose, come back and get your second dose, and protect yourself and urge your family members to do the same,” Pettiford said.

Premier Health said these partnership clinics with Gem City Medical Dental Pharmaceutical Society will be at Northwest Library once a month. The groups will continue until they run out of people to vaccinate.