Doctor: Black, Latino patients 'most concerned' about COVID-19 vaccine; Susan Moore case shows why
The US is pushing to deliver COVID-19 vaccines nationwide to frontline workers and the elderly, but is met with suspicion - especially among people of color.
According to a New York doctor, it's important to address public health concerns about systemic racism - and not just for people of color, but for everyone.
"The people who worry me most in my clinic are my African American and Latin American patients," said Dr. Stella Safo, an HIV family doctor and co-founder of Vote Health, interviewed Yahoo Finance live.
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These groups "are really concerned and have had more doubts in the past about the safety of certain drugs and health system treatments," she added.
As a black doctor, I feel very committed to providing information so that these patients will feel extra comfortable as they make the decision whether to take the vaccine or not. "
Black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to get coronavirus than whites - but 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.8 times more likely to get the disease, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are 1.7 times more likely among the Latino population, while hospital stay and death rates are 4.1 times and 2.8 times, respectively.
"I can hardly be treated properly"
Public attitudes towards Covid-19 vaccines are changing. A new USA Today / Suffolk University poll found 46% of respondents would get a chance as soon as possible, compared to 26% at the end of October. However, with skepticism, especially among color communities, experts are concerned about mass vaccination of the public.
The case of Dr. Susan Moore, a black doctor who was hospitalized for coronavirus, was discharged and died, according to Dr. Safo illustrative and alarming.
Before she got too sick to speak, the Indiana-based doctor posted a video on Facebook saying she had not received adequate treatment. She believed that if she had been white that wouldn't have happened.
“When people hear the story of Dr. See Moore, they think I can hardly be treated properly. Which makes me think the vaccine is for me, ”said Dr. Safo.
When it comes to public health and the coronavirus, everyone has an interest in ensuring equitable and appropriate medical treatment.
“This is what we talk about when we talk about racism: it's hard for society as a whole because when individuals are afraid to engage in public health measures like taking a vaccine, we don't achieve herd immunity, neither of us is in Security, "added the doctor.
One million doses of the Pfizer (PFE) BioNtech (BNTX) vaccine have been given - but that's far from the government's target of 20 million doses by the end of December, although the data may be delayed. The Moderna (MRNA) vaccine has only been given this week, so these numbers are not included yet.
While the vaccine has signaled the beginning of an end to the pandemic, experts warn that herd immunity is unlikely to be achieved for many months. Dr. Safo said wearing masks and practicing social distancing are still an essential part of public health.
"Going on vacation is just a depressing time. Nothing feels like it and I have a number of food insecure patients," added the doctor. "As clinicians, you are saddened by how much we lost this year to have. But there is hope. "
Julie Hyman is the co-host of Yahoo Finance Live, 9 am-11pm ET weekdays.
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