Reaching minorities is key during pandemic

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial

Your willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine depends on just one thing—either you trust that it will provide some level of protection, or you don’t.

Similar to the mask debate is that of whether or not we feel that we can trust what health care experts are telling us about the vaccine. Either you are part of the camp that says, “Go ahead and get the vaccine so you can have some level of protection, and any side effects are temporary and will be worth it,” or you’re part of the camp that questions everything we are told.

Those in the latter camp will ask, “How do we know that there won’t be unknown health consequences down the road?” or more to the extreme, “How do we know that this isn’t some government conspiracy?”

The good news is, we live in a country where we typically have a choice when it comes to these issues. At least right now, it is up to you as to whether you will receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Of course, for many this isn’t an easy decision, and that’s understandable. Over the past year we have been trying to sift through seemingly contradictory information about how to protect ourselves in public. Throw on top of that an unstable political climate where conspiracy theories abound on social media, and you’ve got a recipe for confusion.

But, for the most part, health experts say it’s a smart choice to get vaccinated. Still, there is hesitancy among the general public, especially among minorities.

On April 11, Montevallo High School and UAB partnered to host a vaccine clinic specifically targeting the Hispanic community, and it was a runaway success. There were plenty of Spanish-speaking doctors and volunteers there to answer questions and provide information so that the people could make educated decisions.

Thanks to Jaye Locks, a Montevallo resident and ambulatory services administrator with UAB, and Milene Panzica, an ESL teacher at the school, for getting the ball rolling on this clinic.

When a public health emergency arises, it is important that everyone in the community has an equal opportunity to become informed and to have access to potentially lifesaving vaccines. Thanks to these dedicated volunteers for helping to bridge the gap to our local Hispanic community.