Indiana health officials joined a webinar Tuesday to discuss COVID-19 vaccination advances and efforts to equitably vaccinate Hoosiers.
The Indiana Minority Health Coalition hosted the event to highlight the importance of the vaccine and to dispel myths about it. U.S. Surgeon General and former Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adams said COVID-19 laid bare health inequities.
“The diseases that impact all of us,” Adams said, “almost always disproportionately impact people of color.”
Two COVID-19 vaccinations have been approved this month. Marion County Public Health Department Director Virginia Caine said the vaccines use new messenger RNA science that teaches cells to make a protein.
“It produces lots of antibodies, our natural antibodies in our body, against the coronavirus,” Caine said.
Caine addressed certain myths about the vaccines including that they do not contain a live virus and they can not change your DNA.
Adams said vaccine distrust is another health inequity facing Black people.
“We know that vaccine confidence, or the lack thereof, is one of the greatest social injustices out there.” Adams said.
Distrust stems from incidents like the Tuskegee syphilis study, conducted from 1932 to 1972, where Black men were unethically treated in a federally run clinical trial.
Indiana State Department of Health officials said the state will use federal and local guidelines to determine vaccine distribution order. Next in line are nursing home and front line workers.
The state’s plan also includes principles to mitigate health inequities and promote justice and transparency.