The pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color. These are also the same communities who are widely skeptical of receiving a coronavirus vaccine.

Hilda Ramirez, executive director of the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University, participated in Pfizer's vaccine trial to encourage buy-in from the state's Latino community.

She says we have to listen to concerns within the community and address those concerns head-on, even if it's uncomfortable.

"Even myself, to be honest with you, I would often say, 'I don't want to get that flu vaccine, because I'm just going to get the flu,'" said Ramirez. "And so, I don't know where that comes from ... I just can't tell you where that notion was formulated for me. And I'm the kind of person, that I go to the doctor all the time, I do all the things that I have to do, I'm fairly healthy. But, there's definitely some assumptions that have been built into how we grow up where you're like, 'Well I don't know if it'll make it better or worse or give me a cold.'"

Boston City Council President Kim Janey says part of addressing this skepticism means acknowledging past and more recent events that have contributed to those concerns, including the Tuskegee Experiments and the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.

"So there's a lot of history and good reasons why there might be mistrust, that being said, it is critically important that we ensure that the vaccine reaches communities of color, and Black people in particular," said Janey. "We have to deal with and acknowledge the history in our nation when it comes to healthcare, and governments and our relationship to Black people in particular, but to communities of color in general."


Councilor Kim Janey - 2:56
Hilda Ramirez - 16:54