BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- Ochsner Health hosted a Facebook Live event to discuss the issues with the African American community and the coronavirus vaccine.

According to Ochsner, the African American community is more hesitant to get vaccinated for covid-19 than other races.

“Why not let us as African Americans and other people of color decrease some of the already existing disparities that we see in society by protecting ourselves from COVID,” said Dr. Victoria Smith, Ochsner Associate Medical Director, St. Charles Parish Hospital and Primary Care-River Region.

The goal for the discussion was to have community members feel more comfortable with the medical field.

The African American community distrust in the medical field dates back to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

“The study was from 1932 to 1972 before it stopped,” said Dr. Eboni Price Haywood, Medical Director of Ochsner. “That’s during the life time of our family, of our parents, our grandparents. I think we need to embrace the truth of the history of what happened to the black community that led to the misuse and mistrust.”

 Dr. Victoria Smith took part of the Pfizer vaccine trail, she hopes her experience can help gain trust of her community members.

Courtesy of Ochsner Health.

“So many of members of our communities are on the frontlines of being exposed to covid, working in a  grocery store or fast food restaurant,” she said. “I feel passionate about everyone really thinking about receiving the vaccine when it is your turn.”

According to the health experts, misinformation in the community has also led to hesitation with the vaccine.

Ochsner Health experts claim the following statements false:

  • The vaccine can hurt fertility in women
  • The vaccine will alter DNA
  • Their is a risk of death
  • The vaccine carries a tracking device

Dr. Smith says the urge for the community to get vaccinated is simply because of prevention.

“It’s not just about protecting yourself, but to protect other,” she said.

The Louisiana Department of Health is providing vaccine locations and eligibility here.