Safety looks different for everyone. And in communities of color, there’s often a mistrust of the health care system.
“We don’t really trust. We’ve been used as guinea pigs for a really long time,” Rose Marie Allen said.
With so much concern about COVID-19, there’s now a stronger effort to make sure everyone has equal access to vaccinations, especially in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
“To have this in Five Points, where a lot of the African American community is, is huge,” Jessica Newsome said.
This vaccination event is part of the Colorado Vaccine Equity Task Force, which exists to ensure all groups are informed about their options and have the opportunity to get vaccination shots for free.
“This is what success looks like,” said Maisha Fields, Advisor to Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
Fields is also a registered nurse and says getting people of color vaccinated is all about location and trust.
“If we’re going to be intentional about making sure that everyone has equal access to the vaccine, we’re going to have to go to those communities and we’re going to have to go to places that are trusted in those communities to make sure that they are vaccinated,” she said.
Places like Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center.
“This is about, if you want the vaccine, you should have access to it,” JeFF Fard said.
Fard runs the center and says he’s allowing it to be used as a vaccination site so citizens who are often overlooked or underserved have access.
“You see the demand. You see folks taking advantage of the opportunity and it makes all the difference in the world,” he said. “And a matter of fact, it could mean the difference between life and death.”
There are statistics that show African Americans are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, so vaccination clinics held at places like cultural centers could save even more lives.
Many of the people who showed up at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center say they’re much more comfortable getting vaccinated by someone who looks like them.
“They appointed me to a Black nurse, and I felt comfortable immediately because I know that she understands me and my body,” Allen said. “And more than anything she understood my fears.”
Fears that could be eased, one shot at a time.