More blacks in the US are open to receiving coronavirus vaccines, according to a new poll. This is an encouraging sign that a community leader has described the “nearly 180 degree turn” from earlier in the pandemic.
According to a poll by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in late March, around 24 percent of blacks said they were unlikely or definitely not to get vaccinated.
That’s a 41 percent decrease in January, and the proportion of whites (26 percent) and Hispanic Americans (22 percent) who also say they don’t plan on bumps.
The results come as U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration works to speed up vaccinations to try to beat the recent surge in infections after promising all adults to be in for a sting by April 19 Question would come.
Public health experts had raised concerns about the need to ensure that Black and other color communities particularly affected by the pandemic in the US have fair access to vaccines.
Local leaders said the hesitation about vaccines was fueled in part by decades of institutional discrimination in health care and other public services.
Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told AP that black attitudes have “almost taken a 180 degree turn” as outreach campaigns helped fight misinformation.
Benjamin said black doctors, faith leaders, and other organizers helped send targeted messages to the church “in a way that didn’t preach.”
“They didn’t tell people, ‘You have to get vaccinated because it’s your duty.’ They were basically saying, “Look, you need to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your family,” he said.
Mattie Pringle, a 57-year-old South Carolina black woman who previously had doubts about taking the vaccine, said she changed her mind after a member of her church asked her to reconsider. She got her first push last week.
“I had to pray about it and I felt better afterwards,” Pringle told AP.
Medical and public health experts have continued to urge people in the United States to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the disease, which killed more than 561,000 people nationwide – the highest death rate in the world.
The US, which has reported over 31 million cases to date, has approved three emergency vaccines: Pfabs-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
To date, more than 178.8 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, while 68.2 million people are considered fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recent polls have shown that more Americans, in general, say they intend to get vaccinated than before.
The Pew Research Center reported in early March that 19 percent of adults in the United States said they had already received at least one dose, while another 50 percent said they would likely or definitely be vaccinated.
“Overall, 69 percent of the public intend – or have already done – a vaccine, compared with 60 percent who said they would be vaccinated in November,” it said.
Other recent polls show that political attitudes towards vaccines are divided. A poll at Monmouth University published last month found that 36 percent of Republicans said they would avoid the vaccine, compared to just 6 percent of Democrats.
This prompted leading U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci to urge former President Donald Trump to encourage his supporters to vaccinate.
Meanwhile, experts are urging Americans to take the vaccine available to protect themselves and avoid delays.
“When people walk in I always advise them to get the vaccine that is available because you never know what vaccine will be available next time,” Reham Awad, a pharmacy intern in the Chicago area, told Al Jazeera this week .