Local Healthcare Providers Work To Combat Vaccination Hesitation

CHARLOTTE, NC – Local healthcare providers are making a push to encourage vaccination and quell fears about the process; especially in minority communities that have a long history of distrust in the medical industry.

“We are now armed with a weapon we had not had up until this point,” said Dr. Chris Branner with Atrium Health.

Branner is awaiting his second round of the COVID vaccine.

“I’m often asked how do I feel when I’ve gotten the vaccine and I say that I have a sense of euphoria,” said Branner.

He says the vaccine is like an extra layer of PPE for him and his coworkers.

“I want to go to church again. I want to go to a movie theater again. I want to go to sporting arenas again. I want to see my family over Christmas again. And the vaccine is a powerful tool that we have,” said Branner.

But there is hesitation for many across the Charlotte area. Specifically in minority communities.

“We unfortunately have a history in this country of systemic racism as it pertains to the healthcare industry,” said Dr. Augustus Parker III with Novant Health.

Dr. Parker III says most African Americans are familiar with the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. In which, Black men in the trial believed they were getting treatment, but were not. The study from the 1930’s through 1970’s had a devastating impact on trust.

“I think those are major hurdles to overcome,” said Dr. Parker III.

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Those same communities are struggling with acces to healthy food and quality education.

“When we’re speaking about health equity, it’s a snowball effect because there are so many inequities,” said Yvonne Dixon, the Director of health equity at Novant Health.