Leaders of Miami’s Black community have gone to great length to ensure that the coronavirus vaccine is accessible to residents of all backgrounds, but low turnout at some outreach events has them worried.
Tangela Sears, a well-known advocate for the Black community in South Florida, and Liberty City's Reverend Billy W.L. Strange have both been fully vaccinated, and hope that other members of their community do the same.
“It’s the same message that I give to my community daily about gun violence. Don’t wait until it hits you,” Sears told NBC 6.
Reverend Strange of Mount Calvary MB Church in Liberty City said 6 that only about 60 people showed up to a vaccine event he held last month, and a mere nine returned for their second dose.
“People have still tested positive, even after the first dose and even after the second dose," Dr. Tina Carroll-Scott of South Miami Children's Clinic warned. "That should be enough for people to realize that we need to follow the recommendations, as they stand."
The doctor held her own pop-up vaccination event on March 20th. Her goal was to make the vaccine more accessible to members of the Black community, and she is confident that the estimated 600 people who showed up will return for the second dose in about two weeks.
She says she believes her personalized medical approach may have helped provide a high turnout.
“I walked the line answering questions that anyone had about the vaccine, and it was an experience where we made it fun, because I wanted it to be a celebration,” Dr. Carroll-Scott told NBC 6.
Still, the physician recognizes that persuading every member of the Black community to get the vaccine will be tough.
“There has been a long history of medical experimentation, the most infamous study with the Tuskegee syphilis study. So although we cannot ignore the history, we have to acknowledge that we have to pivot now," Dr. Carroll-Scott continued.
"Because we are in the middle of a raging pandemic that is disproportionately affecting communities of color and we have to make sure we are not sabotaging ourselves."