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Health officials concerned about reluctance among minority groups to get COVID-19 vaccine

"I think it's an issue around the world," Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Medical experts are said to be particularly concerned that members of minority groups have expressed reluctance to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to U.S. data, the largest ethnic groups in Corpus Christi are broken down into five groups: 

  • Hispanics: 61.6-percent
  • White 28.5-percent
  • African-American: 3.95-percent 
  • Asian: 2.34-percent
  • Other non-Hispanic minorities: Around 1.5-percent

While experts say there is no need for concern over the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, the groups who are hesitant to get it are among those who make up the majority of the population in Corpus Christi.

"I think it's an issue around the world," Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the hesitancy among minority groups isn't uncommon.

"With the vaccine coming, I am concerned that there are some people that are worried about whether to get vaccinated or not, but on the other hand there's not enough vaccine to vaccinate everybody," Rodriguez said. "So it almost works itself out, believe it or not, because it gives some time to decide whether they want it."

"I think part of the hesitancy is because they're thinking that the vaccine was developed very fast, that it was not well thought of, that it was made haphazardly," said Dr. Minit Rafael, President of the Nueces County Medical Society.

Rafael said once the vaccine makes it to the frontline people such as medical personnel and first responders, those at high risk and over 65, the message should be widely publicized that everyone needs to be vaccinated. For one, because it will save lives.

"It is safe for us to receive and it will protect us from the illness. Now if we are protected, therefore, we are healthy, therefore we can work and therefore we can contribute to our economy to move forward," Rafael said.

Dr. Philippe Tissot with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and a member of the local COVID-19 Task Force said it is a matter of educating the community, and that a little inspiration goes a long way.

"My recommendation is to have, publicly, basically leaders like former Presidents Bush and Obama, Clinton, getting their vaccines live in front of everybody and maybe even ask some of our community leaders to do the same thing here," Tissot said.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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