As the nation continues to increase vaccination rates, Drs. Delana Wardlaw and Elana McDonald, known as the Twin Sister Doctors, today released a special report offering insightful strategies to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, particularly in Black communities.
In the report, “The COVID-19 Treatment: Debunking Myths & Maximizing Participation,” the Twin Sister Doctors, who are African-American women who grew up in Philadelphia, urge federal, state and local governments to partner with community-based civic and social organizations to dispel years of distrust within the Black community about vaccines. The report, available for download on TheTwinSisterDoc.com focuses on “building trust and transparency through partnerships” to debunk these myths.
The Twin Sister Doctors’ major goals with this report are to build trust, achieve greater transparency and ultimately attract people to get the shot. They are encouraging federal, state and local government health officials to partner with local Black doctors, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, faith-based organizations, fraternities and sororities, civic organizations (e.g., NAACP, National Urban League and social organizations (Jack and Jill, Inc., The Links, Incorporated).
“There isn’t a day that passes where I’m not getting questions from my patients, friends and neighbors about some myth they’ve heard about the vaccine,” said Dr. Wardlaw, who runs a clinic at Temple Health. “I spend a great deal of time letting these people know that they’re not getting injected with trackers or drugs that will alter their DNA.”
Even as President Joseph Biden has opened up vaccines to everyone older than 16, a Kaiser Health News report shows that 25% of young adults, ages 18-29, and 24% of Black adults were most likely to fall into the “wait and see” group. The good news is that percentage of those in this “wait and see” group has dropped since December. The concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have deepened concerns about vaccine hesitancy.
“We’ve got lots of work to do make sure everyone gets fully vaccinated,” said Dr. McDonald, who runs several clinics in Philadelphia. “I fully understand many people’s concerns, but I tell my patients and those who ask me, that we are going to be much healthier and safer when the majority of us are able to do all we can to prevent getting the coronavirus.”
Added Dr. McDonald, “Any number of these organizations work with individuals in cities in communities throughout the country. At the end of the day, my experience has been that there’s a greater chance many people will get vaccinated when they get encouragement and facts from people who look like them.”