Much of the news about Black Americans and COVID-19 vaccines has focused on hesitancy, but physician Rhea Boyd disagrees with that take. Instead, she says the real problem is access — both to trusted information and the vaccine itself.

“It tacitly blames Black folks for under-vaccination, which is incredibly problematic,” said Boyd, MD, MPH, a pediatrician and public health advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Evidence shows that when we remove barriers, Black people are just as likely to get commonly recommended vaccines as other racial and ethnic groups.” Crear looking at camera from video still

Using that lens, Boyd, in collaboration with the Kaiser Family Foundation and Black Coalition Against COVID, developed a new resource, the Conversation: Between Us, About Us, a campaign to provide Black communities with credible information about COVID-19 vaccines. The series launched in March — including a debut video with comedian W. Kamau Bell that generated over 100,000 YouTube views in its first 24 hours — and features Black doctors, nurses and researchers dispelling misinformation and offering accessible facts about COVID-19 vaccines. 

The Conversation is one of a number of science-based resources now available to help public health workers and other health advocates communicate with their communities in the unprecedented effort to immunize the nation against COVID-19. According to a Gallup poll released in February, 71% of Americans were willing to be vaccinated, up from 65% in late December. However, a March NPR poll found 28% of whites, 25% of Blacks and 37% of Hispanics did not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Continue reading this story on The Nation’s Health website.

Photo caption
Joia Crear-Perry, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, speaks about the COVID-19 vaccine in a video from the Conversation: Between Us, About Us. The campaign, which features Black health care workers, includes over 50 FAQ videos. (Image courtesy the Conversation: Between Us, About Us)