A post-COVID Detroit seems so close, but vaccine hesitancy in Detroit pushes it further down the line.
Detroit City Councilman James Tate has a plan to get more people in his district (District 1) vaccinated by giving them the facts, quell their fears and help get them back to living a normal life in Detroit.
On May 26, he will host a Zoom and Facebook Live meeting to share the facts about the vaccine. Niveen Elder, a health communications specialist from the CDC Foundation/Detroit Health Department, will also be there to answer any questions viewers might have about vaccine hesitancy, safety, and effectiveness.
The meeting begins at 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 26. The Zoom meeting ID is 850 3362 1122. For Facebook go to @DISTRICTONEDETROIT.
“To have a vaccine and for it to be free and proven safe and still have people dying of it, there is no reason for someone in my position to not try to discuss this kind of thing,” says Tate.
He will also share his own vaccination story, which initially included some hesitancy on his part. That desire to wait and see was alleviated by family members who worked in the medical field and could answer his questions.
Now it is time to pass on the favor.
There are a lot of reasons why people may feel hesitant.
There is a complicated history between the medical world and people of color. In the past racist, and sometimes dangerous, health policies and clinical experiments targeted black and brown communities, which led to distrust.
For some there is also concern about how quickly the vaccine was developed and provided to the public. For others it is a distrust of government or the pharmaceutical industry or fear of potential side-effects.
Trust in homeopathic and alternative medicines is another sticking point for some.
Given that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel last week shut down a business peddling false COVID cures, there is another element of safety added.
We also live in an age where miscommunication can be sent right into your home through social media from trusted friends, who want to help, but in some cases are hurting. This can lead to the more outlandish theories such as vaccines carry microchips or causes sterilization.
To make matters worse, the vaccine is being politicized by some, which only adds fuel to the fire.
Tate has heard many of these theories and understands what he is up against. That is part of why he put the Zoom meeting together. He believes anyone with presence in the community has the responsibility to spread the correct information to the community.
He says the best way to change minds is to reach out rather than force people to change or ridicule their beliefs.
If the COVID forums are successful, there are neighborhood vaccination spots in Tate’s district and across the city that make it easy to get the shot. Click here to find a location near you.
If you have questions or have a friend, family member or colleague who is hesitant about the vaccine, encourage them to tune in to the Zoom and Facebook Live meeting to get the facts. The meeting begins at 6:00 pm, Wednesday May 26.
The Zoom Meeting ID is 850 3362 1122. For Facebook go to @DISTRICTONEDETROIT.