Partnering black churches and medical professionals could increase uptake of the coronavirus vaccine in African American communities, a new study suggests.
Researchers looked at San Bernardino County vaccination rates and found that just 3.2 percent of people immunized at mass vaccination sites were black.
However, after black churches and black pharmacists provided COVID-19 information sessions to parishioners, the rate increased to 4.3 percent - a jump of 34 percent.
What's more, when the church served as the vaccination site, more than three-quarters of all people who got a dose of the vaccine were black.
The team, from Loma Linda University (LLU) School of Pharmacy, in California, says it hopes other local leaders can use community-based approaches like this one to help vaccinate vulnerable pockets of the U.S.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
To boost vaccination rates among African Americans, black churches delivered COVID-19 vaccine information to congregants and pastors coordinated with a black pharmacist to host COVID-19 education webinars. Pictured: Melanie Paige gets her first COVID-19 vaccine dose at her church, St. Matthew Christian Methodist Episcopal, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 2021
'Black churches have long been more than places of worship to their communities,' said lead author Dr Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, an assistant professor at the LLU School of Pharmacy.
'They serve as strongholds for disseminating trusted information and have been integral in our initiative to help achieve racial equity in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.'
Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic.
They are up to three times more likely than white Americans to likely to contract the virus, fall severely ill and die.
Health experts had hoped the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine could help narrow the gap between African Americans and Caucasians.
However, black Americans have several barriers to getting coronavirus shots including having less access to