LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Nurses Association launched a campaign Thursday to encourage minorities, especially those in Black communities, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We need to recognize that Black and brown communities have been hit very hard by COVID-19," said Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, board chair for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "It's been compounded by chronic illnesses that have made us more susceptible and made us at greater risk for death."
In the campaign videos, members of the Black community shared their experiences.
"I thought the vaccine happened too quickly," one woman said. "And I wondered how that could be trusted. But then I realized that this type of vaccine had been researched for years, and it was tested on 10s of 1000s of people including Black and brown people. And they did not skip any steps in the approval process. I figured I was more scared of COVID, not the vaccine."
A grandmother and school nurse also weighed in.
"The side effects are minimal," she said. "Or you might be down for a day, but it will keep you out of the hospital. It will keep you alive. I took the shot to protect my grandbaby. My students and my family and I felt fine. I hope my family and friends will do the same to protect me."
On Thursday, panelists explained there are years of distrust among the Black community.
"The other thing that I think is really important is that we recognize the history of how Black and African Americans have been treated in America, but also to realize that in some instances, that same type of treatment is occurring today," said Executive Director of the Kentucky Nurses Association Delanor Manson.
One Kentucky Black man addressed the topic head-on during one of the campaign's videos.
"We all know there's a history of racism in medical circles when it comes to people of color, but with the COVID vaccine, we're all in this together," he said. "In fact, did you know a person of color was one of the lead researchers and developing the vaccine?"
President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Ben Chandler said the past few weeks have been encouraging.
"As of this week, about 8.3% of vaccinated Kentuckians are Black and that pretty much is in line with the proportion of the population here in Kentucky," he said.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Nurses Association said they hope other Kentuckians will share their stories of faith in the vaccine to encourage all to vaccinate against COVID-19.