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Black Kentuckians Explain Why They "Got the Shot" in New Campaign

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Bobbie Lester, a Jefferson County, Ky., resident and Louisville school nurse, explains why she chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine in a new public-service campaign. (Adobe Stock)
Bobbie Lester, a Jefferson County, Ky., resident and Louisville school nurse, explains why she chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine in a new public-service campaign. (Adobe Stock)
 By Nadia Ramlagan - Producer, Contact
March 22, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- "I Got The Shot to Protect the Ones I Love" is a new campaign featuring Black Kentuckians talking about why they chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine and responding to concerns about racism in the healthcare system.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage more Kentuckians of color to get vaccinated, and it was launched by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA).

Delanor Manson, CEO of the KNA, the Kentucky Nurses Foundation, and the Kentucky Nurses Action Coalition, explained the vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of people, including Black and Brown populations, and did not skip any steps in the approval process.

"This technology has been around for at least 10 years, the technology that was used to make the Ebola vaccines, and what we use for flu vaccines and for HIV vaccines," Manson outlined.

The campaign is part of an effort to increase confidence in the vaccine.

According to state data, as of last week, around 41,000 Black residents had received their first vaccine dose, or just about 4% of all Kentuckians who've rolled up their sleeves.

Manson pointed out the vaccine has allowed Black nurses and healthcare providers to stay safe while treating their community members.

"We need to be protected, and we also need to be role models for people in our community," Manson asserted. "They need to see us get the vaccines, they need to hear about our experiences. We need to be able to say to them, 'It is something that could add to your life.'"

But Manson also emphasized the nation's healthcare system has a long way to go to address racial disparities and bias.

"We have to acknowledge that, and we have to be intentional about changing that experience for Black and Brown people," Manson contended.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said it's working with organizations throughout the Commonwealth that represent local Black populations, urging them to use and share the campaign toolkit materials.

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