The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority groups. Black, Latino and Native American people are infected with COVID-19 and hospitalized with rates approximately four times higher than white Americans and they also die of the illness nearly three times the rate of that of whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For members of these minority communities, there are several contributions to higher rates of infection and severe disease – including living in crowded households, working in essential services with close contact to people or having higher rates of underlying health problems that can increase risk for severe COVID-19, the CDC indicated.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, all individuals should wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, wash their hands and clean and disinfect commonly touched household surfaces.
While the COVID-19 vaccine will be especially important for these populations, 20th century health policies and clinical experiments have caused distrust of vaccinations among Black and Latino communities.
A study by the COVID Collaborative, NAACP, and UnidosUS indicates that only 14 percent of Black Americans and 34 percent of Latino Americans trust that a vaccine will be safe. And, 18% of Black Americans trust in vaccine effectiveness compared to 40 percent of Latino Americans.
Transparency, trust and reinforced safety and effectiveness will likely be key to making sure vaccines are distributed equitably and to everyone who needs them.
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