Lawrence Moore, of Hopkins, South Carolina, says people in his community do not trust DHEC. Photos by: Spencer Buckler
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it is working on creating a new vaccination dashboard that includes vaccination demographic data, including race, in the next two weeks.
Up to this point, DHEC has not released any demographic information on who has received the COVID-19 vaccine. It has released information on how many people have received the first and second dose. According to the New York Times, across the U.S., people of color are vaccinated at lower rates than white people.
Marvella Ford, associate director of population sciences and cancer disparities at the Medical University of South Carolina, says the same is true for Black South Carolinians.
“When we look at the social determinants of health, we can understand that the same factors that made communities more susceptible also make these communities less likely to be in a position to receive the vaccine,” said Ford.
Ford says it is especially a problem in rural areas of the state where there is less access to vaccination sites.
“If we say we support the vaccine, we have to meet people where they are,” said Ford.
Black South Carolinians say they do not trust DHEC. Lawrence Moore, who lives in Hopkins, South Carolina, says that the distrust has formed over time.
“With a history and with experiences that people can call on, memories, and understandings, that’ll create distrust,” said Moore.
The doubt extends to all parts of the community, including young people. Moore’s son, Douglas, says that young people are uncertain about the vaccine when they check their phones.
“I think a lot of people, when you go on social media, you’ll see, ‘Oh, they made the vaccine, they made that vaccine a little bit too quick, so I’m not trusting of it or I’ll give it a little bit of time,’” said Douglas Moore.
Lawrence Moore hopes that when the new dashboard gets published, people will be more confident in DHEC.
“It’s never too late for information and transparency,” said Moore.
Although he is pleased more comprehensive information is coming soon, he thinks that the choice to wait this long was deliberate.
“I think it’s an opportunity for them to mislead, and it’s not just the fact that black South Carolinians need to know the numbers,; white South Carolinians need to know it too,” said Moore.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Americans are 1.9 times more likely to die from the coronavirus than white people. Ford says that when it comes down to saving lives, there is no time to waste.
“We need to get the COVID-19 vaccine because we are the most vulnerable group. We cannot afford not to get vaccinated. Our lives depend on getting the vaccine,” said Ford.
DHEC did not give Carolina News an exact date on when it will be published.
DHEC’s current COVID-19 vaccination website does not include demographic data.
In Hopkins, South Carolina, many people have not had access to information on who has gotten the vaccine.
People line up at Gamecock Park, across from Williams-Brice Stadium, to get the coronavirus vaccine.
Douglas Moore, of Hopkins, checks his social media, where he says young people express their concerns about the vaccine.