WVU in the News: Health officials encourage minorities to get COVID-19 vaccine

Local health officials encouraged Black people and other minorities to get the COVID-19 vaccine after discussing the history of mistrust between minorities and health care providers and why people should get vaccinated during the “Disparities in Health Care” webinar held Wednesday.

“Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are dying from COVID at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, according to the CDC prevention analysis. Yet according to the most recent analysis, people of color are less likely to get the vaccine,” Dr. Leonard White said. “My concern is, if we don’t vaccinate the population that has the highest risk, we’re going to see even more disproportional deaths in Black and brown communities.”

White, associate dean of diversity and an assistant professor of medicine at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, was a panelist during the webinar, which was organized in honor of Black History Month through the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum at Marshall.

Lauri Andress, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at West Virginia University, also spoke during the webinar, discussing infant mortality rates in West Virginia.

Read the full story.

Watch the full seminar. Andress's presentation on her research initiative on the health disparities for Black women and infants begins approximately 29 minutes into the seminar. Andress spoke in detail on her work related to understanding and ameliorating this glaring public health issue by better understanding the lived experiences over the life course of U.S. born Black and white mothers in West Virginia that impacts the ability of their infants to thrive. According to the most recent analysis of state level data, the Black infant mortality rate is twice that of white infants.