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UA researchers study black Alabamian vaccine hesitancy

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:40 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A recent report shows covid shot access, and hesitancy are barriers as to why many rural Black Alabamians haven’t been vaccinated in West Alabama. Alabama is one of six sites in the national communivax initiative.

A seven-person team of UA faculty and graduate students targeted six counties in their covid shot study, which looked at African Americans living in Bibb, Greene, Hale, Perry, Pickens, and Tuscaloosa counties.

Researchers discovered that in the early days of the vaccine rollout, access and hesitancy were both big barriers to vaccination, citing lack of transportation, internet, and public health facilities with more availability.

They also found male participants between 18 and 40 years old were the most resistance to vaccination in interviews. However, many of them got vaccinated over a 2-to-4-month period when UA team members spoke to them.

UA assistant professor Dr. Stephanie McClure says public health in Alabama needs a better ground game. There needs to be people who can have conversations with local folks and answer their questions. “Make sure the messaging is right for those communities. The disconnect between what’s happening on the state level and what needs to happen on the ground level is costing lives and livelihoods in Alabama,” said Stephanie McClure, assistant UA professor of anthropology.

The study also found a key factor in combating misinformation appears to be in providing multiple opportunities for one-on-one chats with a trusted individual. See the full reports on this at https://www.communivax.org/our-work https://news.ua.edu/2021/09/vaccine-access-hesitancy-remain-barriers-among-black-alabamians/

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