Minorities are still being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than whites.
The National Institute of Health is sending Community Engagement Alliance groups to support local efforts to get people vaccinated.
Dr. Gary Gibbons is the director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He said they’re using people already in the communities to help gain the trust of anyone who might be hesitating about getting vaccinated.
“Often, people are persuaded by trustworthy messengers who live in their community, work in their community, worship in their community. Empowering local leaders, local doctors, caregivers with this information and enablement we believe is critical in ending the pandemic in those communities,” he said.
Gibbons said the plan appears to be working.
“We think progress is being made by this approach, providing accurate information, addressing misinformation and nurturing trust in the process and vaccines and confidence that they are safe and effective,” he said.
Gibbons said the teams are already working with UAB in Birmingham and Tuskegee in rural eastern Alabama.