DeKalb is making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible for Latin and African American populations

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County is working hard to make sure its residents are vaccinated against COVID-19. The county is specifically targeting minority communities where the vaccination rate is lagging.

There are issues that the county must address in getting the vaccine to these communities.

“We don’t believe believe this government is trustworthy,” said resident Gerald X.

X, like some others, questions what is in the actual vaccine.

“You don’t know what’s in there,” said X.

Some residents who were initially reluctant have had a change of heart.

Rosie King changed her mind when her job at an insurance company insisted she took the vaccine.

She got her first shot and has plans to get the second.

“They’re requiring that we have our vaccine in order for us to work,” said King.

DeKalb’s Board of Health reported only 26% of Hispanic residents and 26.6% of Black residents are vaccinated in the county. These numbers are pretty low as compared to the 45% of Whites and 53.2% of Asians who have been vaccinated.

The low numbers of vaccinations in the Latin and African American populations are alarming. DeKalb’s health director said these communities have seen the most COVID-19 infections.

“When we looked at COVID case data in the African American, Black community, about 44-45% were among that community,” Dr. Sandra Vakenciano said.

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DeKalb is targeting these groups by offering free shots at food giveaways in their communities. These events draw thousands of cars every Saturday.

“Hesitancy is an issue, but I think convenience also presents barriers,” said DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond.

To address the hesitancy, health professionals will be on-site to educate people about the vaccine.