HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — When it comes to getting Black Pennsylvanians vaccinated, a state Senator is trying to lead the way.
On Thursday night, Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes brought together a group of Black doctors and leaders to have a conversation specifically with Black men and how it’s impacting their community.
Pediatrics Specialist Dr. William King put their message bluntly.
“Get the vaccine, don’t get the rona,” King said.
“Basic information was powerful in the beginning, and basic information remains powerful now,” Hughes said. “Trusted information from trusted messengers.”
Black people have been disproportionately hit with the coronavirus.
“I myself went down with covid around Thanksgiving, after fighting 10 months just fussing, yelling at everyone to mask up, but just still couldn’t avoid it,” King said.
Despite that, Dr. Paris Butler with PennMedicine says many Black people are uncertain about the vaccine.
“Black and brown people are dying at 3 times the rate, but we’re hesitant to get the vaccine. That’s why so many of us are adamant that we need to provide the knowledge, we need to get out,” Butler said.
They pointed out a lot of that stems from a distrust of healthcare systems.
Executive Director of NAAMWA James Moody says that’s why hearing about the vaccine from Black leaders is so important.
“It’s going to have to be people of our color and our peers to convince us, to educate black men to take this vaccine. And that’s the only way it’s going to happen,” Moody said.
These conversations can’t wait.
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“We don’t have time to wait. Black people are dying at 3 times the rate as the majority community, so time is not on our side,” Butler said.
It takes everyone to stop the spread.
“Be part of the squad of beating COVID. We can do it, and as brothers, we’ve got to step up,” Hughes said. “But when we do step up, usually the transformation occurs and we can get that done.”
Senator Hughes’ team says this is just one of many events he plans to host specifically for Black Pennsylvanians about the pandemic.