The surest and fastest way out of the Covid-19 pandemic that has plagued our country and the world for the past year is to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible. Yet in some communities there is hesitancy about the vaccines.
Though ample evidence exists that the vaccines are safe and highly effective, the ill treatment in this country of people of African origins has led to widespread mistrust of any large governmental medical intervention. That mistrust is understandable, and must be surmounted if we are to emerge from pandemic restrictions.
In an effort to overcome doubts, the African Leadership Group earlier held a two-hour Covid-19 virtual forum, featuring several medical experts, as well as Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. As an added bonus, Senegalese recording star Carlou D. performed, live from Senegal, a pro-vaccination song he wrote specially for the event.
The event was cosponsored by the City and County of Denver, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Black Health Collaborative, and Stride Community Health Center.
As a follow-up to this event, ALG and CDPHE are hosting a large-scale Covid-19 vaccine clinic on Saturday, April 17 at ALG’s offices, 10700 E. Evans Avenue in Aurora, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please make an appointment in advance here.
Mayor Hancock set the tone for the forum at the outset, making it clear that he empathized with people who felt hesitant about the vaccines.
“We’ve got to be real about our history and why we distrust the medical system the way we do,” Hancock said. “We know that we have been used as guinea pigs, and it has left us scarred, through generations…And so, we have got to work through those fears, acknowledge them and be real about them.”
Having said that, however, Hancock stressed that vaccines are safe and not experimental. “Nothing was more important to me than making sure my 81-year-old mother got vaccinated as soon as she could.,” he said. “She got it and she is fine. I would never subject her to something I was fearful of. I knew it was important for her to get vaccinated.”
Following Hancock, several medical professionals explained how the vaccines were developed and distributed, why people should feel confident that they are safe, and what mild symptoms they might experience in the hours after vaccination.
“We are having some equity issues when it comes to the vaccine,” said Dr. Terri Richardson, an interest at kaiser Permanente Colorado. “The white population has gotten to the front of the line.” That’s why vaccine clinics like the one ALG will offer later this month are so important, she said. “When you have the opportunity, make sure to go in and get vaccinated.”
You can watch the full video of the ALG/CDPHE forum below.