COVID-19 vaccinations at Broadbent Arena site

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky nurses are working to improve access to the vaccine for Louisville's Black community.

"We're looking at transportation issues. We're also looking at ways to bring the vaccine to people," said Delanor Manson, CEO of the Kentucky Nurses Association. "Right now some of the major issues have to do with cold chain and how the vaccines have to remain frozen."

Manson also serves on Louisville's COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. She says the city is actively working to address the racial disparity among those getting vaccinated.

Residents of West Louisville have pointed out barriers to getting vaccinated, which include a lack of internet connection to sign up for an appointment and adequate transportation in order to get to a vaccination site.

Manson said conversations and work to address those issues have been happening within the task force.

"The health department and mayor have made a concentrated effort to address the needs of the Black and brown community," she said. "It doesn't mean that we're there yet, but it certainly doesn't mean that they've been left behind, because they haven't."

The Kentucky Nurses Association is also working to build trust for the vaccine among the Black community, from launching community-wide information campaigns to having talks with bridge clubs.

"Historically, Black and brown people have not been treated well. We need to listen to their concerns, answer their questions and acknowledge that their concerns are real," said Manson.

A history of medical mistreatment of Black Americans, which includes the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment in the 1930s, has caused some skepticism and distrust of the healthcare system. Manson adds that implicit bias in the medical field still affects Black patients, a difference in treatment that can deepen mistrust.

"We're not trying to pressure you to take the vaccine. We are trying to encourage you to save your life and the life of your family," said Manson, who encourages anyone hesitant to take the vaccine to ask questions of their healthcare provider.

"Think about what the hesitancy is and ask the questions to address that hesitancy, but not just to give up and say, 'I don't want to take it,'" Manson said.

To check for available appointments at Norton's vaccine clinic at 17th and West Broadway, click here.

For more information on how to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky and Indiana, click here.

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