HCN News & Notes

Vaccine Hesitancy Continues Among Minority Populations

ATLANTA — While more than 94 million Americans are fully vaccinated, Atlanta-based health-equity company Just Health Collective Inc. (JHC) warns that the recent re-introduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and potential Pfizer booster shot may increase hesitancy in communities of color, putting black and Hispanic communities further at risk.

“While minority vaccine efforts have been challenging, it continues to be an uphill battle as we learn more about potential side effects,” said Duane Reynolds, founder and CEO of Just Health Collective.

The vaccine — which faced an uphill battle because of a distrust of the medical community in communities of color — may see even more hesitancy after federal health officials recommended a temporary halt in the use of the Johnson & Johnson single dose, which has now resumed in more than 30 states. Additionally, conversations continue about a potential Pfizer booster shot.

“Particularly when we consider minorities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, we can’t deny that recent vaccine hiccups may even widen the gap when it comes to vaccine distribution in the most vulnerable populations,” added Reynolds, noting that, by addressing internal challenges in the healthcare system, medical professionals can help earn more trust. “We need to focus on education and weighing the risks of getting the vaccine versus not. There are compelling reasons why communities of color, in particular, should be vaccinating.”