Midstate health experts encourage minorities to get flu and COVID-19 vaccines


HARRISBURG Pa., (WHTM) — According to a recent survey by the Ad Council, 30% of Black participants and 33% of Hispanics were undecided about getting a flu vaccine this season.

Health experts are focusing on changing these alarming numbers to avoid a surge of hospitalizations this flu season.

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When it comes to vaccines, either COVID or the flu, the CDC, Ad Council, and board members with the American Medical Association are keeping a close eye while encouraging more from the Black and Hispanic communities to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Because of having lower rates of receiving flu vaccines, we have higher rates of being hospitalized and dying from the flu, 1.8 more times likely if you are black 1.2 times likely if your Hispanic,” Dr. Willie Underwood, AMA board member, said.

Hearing those numbers can be scary to hear for many minorities. Underwood says there are ways to make these rates go down.

“That’s why the Ad Council, the CDC, the American Medical Association are working together, and we have resources, and to connect with the community and engage the community,” Underwood said.

AMA board members also say there are many reasons why Black and Hispanic communities are not getting vaccines. This includes not having transportation, not being to take time off work, and lack of trust in the health system.

“This is when the great knowledge of physicians and pharmacists and I encourage everybody as a partnership, go to your local physician go to your local pharmacist and ask those tough questions,” Dr. Marcellus Taylor, Director of Health Equity Partnership in Carlisle, said.

Workers at Partnership for Better Health say when it comes to COVID vaccines, in the State, 52% of black people and 52% of white people have been vaccinated, along with 51% of Hispanics.

Members say this is an improvement, but more work needs to be done.

“We are from the mindset that it is particularly important as we get back to whatever normalcy might look like to get your flu vaccine to get your COVID vaccine,” Taylor said.

Workers with Partnership for Better Help say another way to help get folks vaccinated is by sharing your story with your peers.

Health professionals say that helps to get the word out.

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