LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Out of all Kentuckians who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, less than 5% are Black.
As health care organizations in the Louisville Metro area work to lower the gap, Gov. Andy Beshear said he also will be doing anything he can to address the inequality.
On Friday, Beshear met with leaders of the Louisville NAACP at their headquarters to speak about the importance of urging people to take the vaccine. He said while it’s an important message coming from him, he has found out, people in minority communities would like to hear that message from people in their own communities.
“People want to see, and hear, from people trusted and respected in their own communities,” Beshear said. “They want to hear those voices saying that this is a safe vaccine. They want to see those leaders, people they already put their trust in and have fought beside, to take this vaccine in a real show.”
Beshear said there are two main factors standing in the way of minorities receiving the vaccine at the expected rate, accessibility and skepticism. He believes the skepticism can be tackled by continuing to work with Norton Healthcare, a local health group that has started an initiative to place pop-up vaccination sites in churches and facilities inside the hardest-hit communities. Beshear believes they are helping people feel comfortable because they are getting vaccinated in places they feel most safe, by people they trust the most.
“It’s always good to see somebody like you take the vaccine or do something,” Kevin James said. “You see somebody like you do it, you feel more susceptible to do it.”
Accessibility can be tackled by making the sites easier to reach through transportation.
“Yesterday we announced public transit agencies across the commonwealth are offering free or reduced-cost transportation to and from vaccine locations,” Beshear said.
Those services are now operating in 100 counties, covering 75% of all counties across the state. In addition to the now 410 vaccination sites in the state, Norton Healthcare has opened pop-up sites at the YMCA on West Broadway, St. Stephen Baptist Church, Bates Memorial Baptist Church, Quinn Chapel AME Church and New Covenant Baptist Church.
If you would like to receive a vaccine but need help with transportation visit this website, or call 855-598-2246.