Douglas County’s minority populations continue to fall behind on COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Even as more and more people across the Omaha-metro are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, minority communities are still falling behind.

According to those, it’s not just about getting the right messaging out but making sure the vaccine is easily accessible.

“We’re all geared up and ready to get the information out there,” said Dr. Richard Brown, with the Creighton University, COVID-19 Vaccine Project.

The team at Creighton is backed by a $250,000 grant from the Douglas County Health Department, aimed to get more minorities on board with the COVID-19 vaccine.

“One of the things we’re doing is training 60 health ambassadors,” said Dr. Brown. “We’ve got 12 churches and 11 towers, where the ambassadors are coming from.”

Creighton’s providing them with training on how to get the truth out about the vaccine. “Some of the training with our ambassadors is about not trusting the government and Tuskegee, and all that,” said Dr. Brown. “Their role is to go back into their respective areas and communicate with their people, the churches on Sundays, and activities that they have.”

The team’s also working on radio ads, a weekly newsletter, and catchy slogans. “We believe it’s really important to convince the population that it’s the right thing to do, that it is of value,” said Brown, noting easy access to the vaccine is also important.

“We’re trying to make the vaccine more available to some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Tim Clark, Co-founder, MP2ACTION. “You know you built it and they will come, but no, we have to go to them.”

Grassroots organizations along with Charles Drew Health Center and Douglas County Health Department are working towards that. “I know Douglas County Health Department they’re looking at multiple sites in North Omaha,” said Clark.

The bottom line is a push is coming down the pike. “You’re going to see a vigorous outreach campaign in terms of our churches, our community organizations, gathering points, it could be sporting events,” said Clark.

The latest numbers from Douglas County Health’s COVID-19 dashboard show the black population has received 5 percent of the shots given so far, yet they make up 11.5 percent of the population. While Hispanic people make up 13 percent of the population, yet have only received 4.5 percent of the vaccines doled out.

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