I have a confession: In late 2020, when the first COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, I was hesitant to get the vaccine myself. Despite working in public health and strongly believing in vaccines to keep our community healthy, I was concerned about putting something in my body that looked so new. I thought: “What if the vaccine is dangerous?” What about long-term side effects?
I am part of the LGBTQ + community. Our history may help explain why I have been hesitant.
Do LGBTQ + people hesitate to get vaccinated?
In March A. The New York Times Article mentioned LGBT people are more reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. a Research study The Human Rights Campaign reported mixed results: While gay people in general are more likely to be vaccinated, some subgroups, such as LGBTQ + people of color and bisexual women, are less likely to be vaccinated.
Members of the LGBTQ + community have good reason to hesitate about vaccines. Historically, this population has suffered – and still suffer – from discrimination in multiple settings, including healthcare. At the same time, this population is more vulnerable to COVID-19 (see this study And the Previous blog post I wrote). LGBTQ + people who are also people of color may be more reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, due to trauma and persecution based on Multiple marginalized and intersecting identities That paved the way for distrust of healthcare and medical research. We can include racism, transphobia, intersexophobia, and homophobia among these injustices.
Balancing the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine
When I was trying to decide whether to get the vaccine, I started reading about the vaccine from reliable sources like … Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I’ve also spoken to people I know and trust, such as close friends, family members, and colleagues who are doctors. I asked, “Will you get the vaccine when it’s offered to you?” All of them gave me a “yes!” Most of them shared this rationale: While we still don’t know about long-term side effects, this vaccine is similar to other vaccines that have been around for a while, and the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risks of serious illness or even death from COVID-19.
When I was offered the vaccine earlier this year, I immediately booked my appointment, without hesitation, and did not look back. As soon as I got your first shot, and definitely when I was Fully vaccinate it Two weeks after the second shot, I felt a deep sense of relief. I also felt empowered to take an important step towards keeping myself, my family, and my community safe from COVID-19. I now feel more safe and free in my daily life. I go to the stores (wearing a mask) without feeling anxious, and I was able to personally visit with other people who were completely vaccinated, like my mom, without masks.
If you have been struggling to determine whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine, this is it Network decision-making May be helpful (note: automatic download). The network guides you on the short and long-term benefits and risks of not getting vaccinated compared to getting vaccines currently available.
Why is the vaccine important to LGBTQ + communities
Several epidemics have already wiped out large numbers of the LGBTQ + community: HIV / AIDS, violence, and suicide. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has already caused disproportionate harm to LGBTQ + members (see this study And the this report). LGBTQ + Seniors and People of Color They are most at risk of contracting serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses from COVID-19. If all of us take steps to vaccinate, we can prevent further deaths and negative health outcomes in our communities.
How can you empower yourself to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- educate yourself About what COVID-19 vaccines are, how they work, and why they are safe.
- Talk to trusted experts and people in your life about your concerns.
- At this time, everyone in the United States aged 16 or over qualifies for the vaccine, so you can Make an appointment where you live For vaccination.