Nebraska’s state and local officials have said they realize there is a hesitancy when it comes to minorities getting the COVID-19 vaccine. On the state level, DHHS CEO Danette Smith said they’ve been talking with different communities to figure out its needs.
Local leaders like Preston Love, Jr. said that trust comes from the leaders within the community.
Love proudly displayed his vaccine sticker Thursday after getting his first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
“I must say I kept asking her when she was going to finish and she already finished so it was easy,” Love said.
Not only did Love say he didn’t feel it, but he also said he’s feeling fine.
“I did not want it. I needed it,” Love said.
Love is well-known in the Black community and said he’s using his position to encourage his community to get vaccinated. Love said. that involves breaking down a lot of historical barriers.
“Tuskegee, polio tests even the Flint water, all of that adds up to distrust,” Love said.
Love got his vaccine at Charles Drew Health Center.
“Far too often in the Black community, health care is being dictated to them. We’re being told to do, what you should be doing,” Charles Drew Health Center CEO Kenny McMorris said.
McMorris said there’s been a steady flow of patients coming to get the shot.
“We currently have about 250 vaccines a week,” McMorris said.
McMorris said Charles Drew is connecting with clergy to grassroots organizations to educate people about the vaccine. Both Love and McMorris say it’s a community approach.
“It cannot be forced on. It cannot be advertised on. It cannot be brochured upon,” Love said.
“Our traditional means of leveraging technology and social media, not everybody uses that,” McMorris said. “So, how do we change and make sure we are providing resources and support that meets people where they are.”
Charles Drew Health Center is one of several Federally Qualified Health Centers in Nebraska, giving vaccines to only its patients.
The state urges people to continue to register for the vaccine vaccinate.ne.gov.