More black people in the United States are saying they are open to receiving coronavirus vaccines, a new survey shows, an encouraging sign that a community leader described as “an almost 180 degree turnaround” from the start of the pandemic.
According to the late March poll conducted by the Associated Press news agency and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, about 24% of blacks said they probably or certainly would not be vaccinated.
This is down from 41% in January, and is similar to the proportion of Whites (26%) and Hispanic Americans (22%) who also say they do not intend to be beaten.
The results come as the administration of US President Joe Biden struggles to speed up vaccinations to try to get past a recent increase in infections, after promising that all adults would be eligible for a jab before April 19.
Public health experts have expressed concerns about the need to ensure that blacks and other communities of color in the United States, which have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, equitable access to vaccines.
Local leaders said the reluctance to immunize was in part fueled by decades of institutional discrimination in health care and other public services.
Dr Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told the AP that black attitudes have taken “almost a 180-degree turn” as awareness campaigns have worked to combat disinformation.
Benjamin said black doctors, religious leaders and other organizers had helped send targeted messages to the community “in a way that was not preached.”
“They didn’t tell people, ‘You have to get the vaccine because it’s your duty.’ They basically said, “Look, you have to get the vaccine to protect yourself and your family,” he said.
Mattie Pringle, a 57-year-old black woman from South Carolina who previously had doubts about taking the vaccine, said she changed her mind after a member of her church urged her to reconsider her decision . She received her first blow last week.
“I had to pray about it and I felt better after that,” Pringle told AP.
Medical and public health experts have continued to urge Americans to get vaccinated in order to slow the spread of the disease, which has killed more than 561,000 people across the country – the highest death rate in the world.
The United States, which has reported more than 31 million cases to date, has authorized three vaccines for emergency use: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
To date, more than 178.8 million doses of vaccine have been administered nationwide, while 68.2 million people are considered fully immunized, according to at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recent surveys have shown that more Americans in general report that they intend to be vaccinated than before.
The Pew Research Center reported in early March, 19% of American adults said they had already received at least one dose, while 50% said they likely or definitely would be vaccinated.
“Taken together, 69% of the public intends to be vaccinated – or has already done so – significantly compared to 60% who said they plan to be vaccinated in November,” he said. -he declares.
Other recent surveys show that attitudes towards vaccines are divided along political lines. A Monmouth University survey released last month found that 36% of Republicans have said they will avoid the vaccine compared to just six percent of Democrats.
This prompted US infectious disease specialist Dr.Anthony Fauci to call on former President Donald Trump to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, experts urge Americans take the available vaccine to protect yourself and avoid delays.
“When people come, I always advise them to get the vaccine because you never know what vaccine will be available next time,” Reham Awad, a pharmacy intern in the Chicago area, told Al Jazeera this week.