Black Americans continue to have significantly lower rates of vaccination. Only 28.7% of non-hispanic Black Americans in Michigan are fully vaccinated.
There are complex issues behind that statistic. Two members of the Black community are sharing their efforts to shine a light on the history of inequity and the big challenges still facing so many.
John Mailey is a Henry Ford Critical Care nurse and a Michigan State University nursing instructor.
“I’m just still seeing a lot of people die. I had a patient that had three family members die very recently,” Mailey said.
Angela Floyd is also an instructor at the Michigan State University College of Nursing.
“I wasn’t one of the first ones to go and get it because I wanted just to make sure that what was being presented was true,” Floyd said. “That history that I’ve been told, you know, from my family and generations still sticks with you and kind of hangs on to you, to you know, make you wonder or question the things that are being presented to you.”
The history of the Tuskegee Experiment weighs heavy on many. In the Tuskegee Experiment, 600 black men were lured into a study with the promises of free health care. Instead, many were left untreated for syphilis as part of a study that went on for decades.
With experiences of implicit bias and inequity in healthcare still common, Floyd sees a lack of confidence as a key factor in the lack of vaccinations.
“I think that the message really needs to come from providers that look like that ethnic group, right? So Black providers like myself and John need to really be out there advocating for the importance of getting vaccinated,” Floyd said. “The risks that have been identified with the vaccine are nowhere near the risk of getting COVID and spreading it to your family.”
Mailey and Floyd will be hosting an interactive free webinar on vaccine hesitation on Monday at 4:30. They’re going to address topics of mistrust and inequity.
Click here to register for the “Vaccination Hesitation: From the Eyes of a Black Provider” webinar.