Local organizations host free COVID vaccine clinic to bridge racial gap

A study in December showed in nearly half of U.S. states, Black and Hispanic vaccination rates lag behind White ones by 10 percentage points or more.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality in all facets of life, and that includes health care. But today, people of color are less likely to get the COVID vaccine.

A study in December showed in nearly half of U.S. states, Black and Hispanic vaccination rates lag behind White ones by 10 percentage points or more.

In honor of king’s legacy, four organizations are coming together to combat that statistic.

That startling data is why the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, an organization devoted to achieving healthcare parity for African Americans, is joining forces with other organizations to kick off this free COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

Vanessa Greene, the CEO of GRAAHI, is playing a major role in Monday’s event. 

Greene said she completely understands Black people’s concerns about the vaccine, but Monday’s event is about educating the community and protecting it against this virus.

“This pandemic, this virus is real,” Greene said. “We hear you. We understand  and we share your concerns, however we are advocating for your safety, we are advocating for your health. And the vaccine is our best way out of this pandemic.”

Greene added, “We want to do everything we can do to put an end to it and we’re asking you guys to come on out and help us do that by getting vaccinated.”

Greene added a lot the hesitancy within the Black community when it comes to getting the COVID vaccine comes from historical events where Blacks were mistreated in terms of healthcare and mis-information on social media.

So again, Greene is urging everyone to come on out to Brown-Hutcherson Ministries here on Jefferson Avenue to get vaccinated. Residents five (5) years old and up can receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the event on Monday. 

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