I’ve a confession: in late 2020, when the primary COVID-19 vaccines have been accepted by the FDA, I used to be hesitant to get one myself. Regardless of working in public well being and believing strongly in vaccines to maintain our group wholesome, I used to be anxious about placing one thing in my physique that appeared so new. I assumed: “What if the vaccine is harmful?” “What about long-term negative effects?”
I’m a part of the LGBTQ+ group. Our historical past might assist clarify why I hesitated.
Are LGBTQ+ folks extra hesitant to get the vaccine?
In March a New York Instances article reported that LGBTQ+ individuals are extra hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A analysis research from the Human Rights Marketing campaign reported blended findings: whereas LGBTQ+ folks total usually tend to get vaccinated, sure subgroups, akin to LGBTQ+ folks of shade and bisexual ladies, are much less prone to get vaccinated.
LGBTQ+ folks have good purpose to be hesitant about vaccines. Traditionally, this inhabitants has skilled — and continues to expertise — discrimination in a number of settings, together with in healthcare. On the similar time, this inhabitants is extra susceptible to COVID-19 (see this research and an earlier weblog publish I wrote). LGBTQ+ people who find themselves additionally folks of shade could also be much more hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, due to trauma and oppressions primarily based on a number of intersecting marginalized identities that set the stage for distrust in healthcare and medical analysis. We are able to embody racism, transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia amongst such oppressions.
Weighing the dangers and advantages of the COVID-19 vaccine
After I was making an attempt to determine whether or not to get the vaccine, I started studying in regards to the vaccine from trusted sources just like the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC). I additionally talked to folks I do know and belief, like shut associates, members of the family, and doctor colleagues. I requested them: “Will you get the vaccine when it’s provided to you?” All of them gave me a convincing “sure!” Most shared this rationale: whereas we nonetheless don’t learn about long-term negative effects, this vaccine is just like different vaccines which were round for some time, and the advantages of getting vaccinated far outweigh the dangers of getting critically unwell and even dying from COVID-19.
When the vaccine was provided to me earlier this 12 months, I booked my appointment instantly, with out hesitation, and I haven’t regarded again. As quickly as I obtained the primary shot, and definitely once I was totally vaccinated two weeks after my second shot, I felt a profound sense of aid. I additionally felt empowered about taking an vital step towards holding myself, my household, and my group protected from COVID-19. I now really feel safer and freer in my day by day life. I am going into shops (sporting a masks) with out feeling anxious, and I’ve been in a position to go to in-person with different totally vaccinated folks, like my mother, with out masks.
If you’re struggling to determine whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, this decision-making grid could also be useful (observe: auto-download). The grid walks you thru the advantages and short-term and long-term dangers of not getting the vaccine in comparison with getting the at present accessible vaccines.
Why the vaccine is essential for LGBTQ+ communities
Quite a few “pandemics” have already worn out massive numbers of the LGBTQ+ group: HIV/AIDS, violence, suicide. As well as, the COVID-19 pandemic has already disproportionately harmed LGBTQ+ folks (see this research and this report). LGBTQ+ seniors and folks of shade are at best threat for severe, presumably life-threatening sickness from COVID-19. If every of us takes steps to get vaccinated, we will forestall extra deaths and unfavorable well being outcomes in our communities.
How are you going to empower your self to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Educate your self on what COVID-19 vaccines are, how they work, and why they’re protected.
- Speak to trusted consultants and folks in your life about your fears.
- Right now, everybody within the US who’s age 16 or older is eligible for the vaccine, so you may make an appointment the place you reside to get vaccinated.
- Extra information on COVID-19 and vaccines:
- Fenway Well being COVID-19 sources
- CDC COVID-19 data
- Methods to keep away from COVID-19 vaccine scams
- What you are able to do after you might be vaccinated
The publish COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ group appeared first on Harvard Well being Weblog.