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Gov. Beshear addresses vaccine hesitancy, equity of distribution among minorities

Posted at 3:39 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 17:18:18-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Health care workers, educators, and long-term care facility residents were prioritized in Kentucky's vaccine roll-out.

After looking at the statistics of who was administered the vaccine, the governor's office is now addressing the equity of distribution.

Through Phases 1A and 1B, only 4.6% of those vaccinated are Black Kentuckians even though the community makes up more than 8% of the state's population.

"We know African American and other communities of color in Kentucky were not represented in the 1A and 1B vaccinations that we started these efforts in," said Beshear.

Mayor Linda Gorton says less than 6% of the vaccines administered in Lexington so far have gone to African Americans.

That's why the number of pop-up clinics is increasing, to directly reach minorities.

"Today I promote the aggressive participation of African Americans, especially our citizens, in this COVID-19 vaccination campaign," said Dr. Joseph Owens, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church.

The governor and other lawmakers, including Rep. George Brown and Sen. Reggie Thomas, stopped by Shiloh Baptist Church for a pop-up clinic. Ten community members were vaccinated.

The goal of this campaign is to address vaccine hesitancy among minorities.

Jim Thurman, the president of the Lexington NAACP branch, talked about his own apprehension of taking his shot. He said he remembered learning of past unethical treatment of minorities, such as the Tuskegee syphilis study.

But he says after doing research, he decided to take the vaccine.

"We listened to all the hype surrounding it, how fast it was, we can't trust the government. Believe me, we must take this vaccine," said Thurman.

There is still a higher demand than supply of the vaccine. Beshear says patience is still key, especially as the supply ramps up.

"So I'd ask everybody to keep trying and try to be patient. Everybody really wants this shot, and we're gonna get there, and we're gonna get there by this summer. I am confident that absolutely everyone in Kentucky that wants a vaccine will get it by this summer," said Beshear.