Bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to Black and Indigenous communities distrustful of the health system has unique challenges. Here are some places to start

From the Toronto Star article:

LaRon Nelson agrees. The public health nurse and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital’s MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions researches ways to reduce health disparities in Black communities. The government’s message is in their method, he said. “The message is how you treat me.”

Nelson described the skepticism toward a vaccine among Black people as a “healthy response to histories of mistreatment that Black communities have experienced at the hand of health-care systems and governments.”

It’s not because Black people are mistrustful, he said. “It’s because this system that is harming you is now saying we’re going to give you something that benefits you, and who can trust that?”

Addressing that lack of trust is “less on the people who have been subject to these systems and more on our leaders and policy-makers and administrators to change the system so that it better serves Black folks.” That will take time, he said. For now, given the urgency of the pending immunization program, Nelson echoed the advice of other experts that partnering with trusted community organizations will be key, along with providing information in a transparent and non-judgmental way.

“My goal wouldn’t be to push the vaccine,” he said. “My goal would be to inform. Even the questions that seem bizarre, they have to all be taken seriously and all be answered seriously.”

This work has to start now, he said. “Like, yesterday.”

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