Utah minority groups hesitant to take COVID-19 vaccine

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A health worker prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Many minority groups in Utah are hesitant to receive the vaccine due to distrust of the healthcare system. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Members of Utah’s minority groups are hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, despite efforts to improve education and accessibility.

Salt Lake County has made the vaccine more accessible by taking it to Black churches and mosques so minority groups might have easier access, but skepticism still remains for many within these groups.

“Some are hesitant because of the history of medical mistreatment of Blacks,” said Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Oscar Moses.

Moses pointed to different moments within the Black community’s history where distrust was placed, including the study of syphilis in Black men that happened without their knowledge or consent.

These negative experiences with healthcare have caused skepticism of new medicines that come to their communities.

Other minority groups have also expressed distrust of the healthcare system because of medical mistreatment, including the Muslim community.

“Despite the efforts of a Muslim public health committee, our community had a lot of barriers for our members,” said Luna Banuri, executive director of Utah Muslim Civic League.

While there is still hesitation, many minority leaders throughout Utah are working to bring information to their communities so they can make an informed choice about the vaccine.

“It is essential to provide a sense of trust for African Americans and other minority communities,” Moses said.

In order to help these groups understand the vaccine better and what is in it, many of these leaders have worked with healthcare officials to give these groups access to information.

Banuri and her group have launched an education plan “to try and convince the Muslim population that vaccinations are safe,” Banuri said.

Ultimately these leaders feel that it is through their own efforts that they can make the difference in educating their communities on this issue.

“Black churches can lead the way in building confidence in the vaccination process and safety,” Moses said.

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