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To date, only about 31% of adults in Detroit have received at least one dose. That’s less than the state’s 50% vaccination rate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that roughly half of all adults in the U.S. had received at least one COVID-19 shot.
Detroit’s door-to-door campaign is the latest in an effort to connect residents with vaccination sites across the city.
Various campaigns are running in Black and other color communities in the US to convince people that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
A survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs in late March found that around 24% of African American adults said they were unlikely or definitely not to be vaccinated. That was a 41% decrease in January. The most recent figure shows that black Americans, at 26%, are almost as opposed to being shot against as white Americans and at 22% against Hispanic Americans.
“I feel healthy,” said Shabazz, a 26-year-old black woman. “It’s really like I’m not afraid of it. I’m not afraid of getting sick.”
She’s one of the audiences Detroit officials want to reach: According to Victoria Kovari, who leads Detroit’s $ 1 million vaccination campaigns funded by the state with FEMA funds.
“The most common reaction is to wait and see … their family and friends are being vaccinated so they are comfortable (with the idea),” Kovari told reporters on Tuesday, “but it is better to be vaccinated than on a ventilator.”
“The seniors are very excited,” Kovari said of Detroit’s elderly residents. People aged 50 and over have been given more than 79,000 doses. “We just have to get this message out there.”
At least 70 recruiters go door-to-door speaking to residents who respond or leave leaflets stating where they should be vaccinated.
Work began in small neighborhoods in March, but the big push began on Saturday and by Monday around 5,000 doors had been knocked. Getting face to face time proved difficult as some doors were not answered even though cars were parked in front of the house.
Anthony Brinson said the goal is to let people know “where to go, what to do and who to call”.
“I think if you know the facts it will help,” said Brinson, who worked with advertisers in Shabazz’s neighborhood Tuesday morning. “This is a safe vaccine that we can take. Why not benefit from it?”
Leslie Fields, 34, hasn’t been sold for vaccines yet.
Fields pointed to the Tuskegee Experiment, an infamous study in Tuskegee, Alabama in which the government used hundreds of black men to suffer from untreated syphilis for 40 years for research purposes.
“I don’t want to take it. I don’t want to be experimented,” said Fields, who is black. “I don’t judge people for taking the vaccine. We’re all pending now. We all have to make the best decision for ourselves.”