TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In an effort to get more African Americans vaccinated, Terre Haute’s chapter of the NAACP is working to spread accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Black Hoosiers 16 and older make up 9.1% of the state’s population, but only 5.1% have received the shot, with 4.4% fully vaccinated.
Dr. Darlessa Doss, board member of the Minority Health Coalition, said they recognize the community’s skepticism.
“It’s not just education — there are other barriers and other factors that play a major role in the issues that we’re seeing with the vaccine,” Doss said. “So for me, I’m interested in seeing how can we address this? Where do we start?”
Pastor Glenn Purnell said he’s speaking with his congregation and has even revealed his own vaccination journey.
“It’s not fabricated — it’s real, I actually did take the shot,” Purnell said. “I believe that this type of leadership will help our membership and our community.” Leading by example, he said, is the first step to getting others vaccinated. “I think the most powerful way for us to influence one another is through leadership. Leadership demands action, not verbalization.”
Mia Lewis, executive director for the Minority Health Coalition, said people need to do their own research in making their decision.
“My biggest thing is when I’m talking to people — educate yourselves. Learn about it. Read up about it. Go to the CDC. Go to the World Health Organization. Encourage them to educate themselves, not just take in the word from you or the word from someone else.”
The local NAACP plans to form a committee to expand its community outreach efforts.