Facing the challenge of vaccine equity

Moving New Orleans Forward

NEW ORLEANS-— Like every other state, Louisiana scrambled to get control of the alarming death count from coronavirus, and a year ago when we found out that twice the number of blacks were dying, the governor formed a COVID Equity Task Force to address care in that community.

Dr. Takeisha Charles Davis, the President and CEO of New Orleans East Hospital was appointed to the task force and she says they began to find answers.

According to Davis, “Not only did we identify that the underlying healthcare conditions that we suffered from at higher rates like heart disease, diabetes and cancer were putting us at more risks, but that we also didn’t have the same opportunities and access to testing and treatment.”

Dr. Takeisha Charles Davis, President and CEO of New Orleans East Hospital (WGNO-TV)

Fast forward a year, and while the percentages of deaths has gone down, some of those same challenges exists.

The new frontier is making sure that this community gets vaccinated. In spite of supply challenges, they’ve vaccinated thousands at the hospital’s vaccine clinic and they’ve taken the show on the road.

“With our mobile vaccination units. Being able to get out to churches, to community organizations, like The Viet, and to schools. For the last few weeks, we’ve vaccinated teachers in their schools,” says Davis.

One of the challenges of vaccinating Blacks across the country is the reluctance by some related to the well-documented Tuskegee Experiment and heath care disparities.

Dr. Davis and her team faces this head on, “Acknowledge their vaccine hesitancy, based on historic racism that has been in healthcare for decades. But also share information about how safe all 3 vaccines are and how efficacious they are or how well they work an not just preventing COVID but most importantly preventing death from COVID.”

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