Gov. Beshear, Lexington leaders encouraging minority communities to get vaccinated

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 10:50 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear joined local leaders at a vaccine event in Lexington.

The event was held Wednesday morning at Shiloh Baptist Church in the 200 block of East 5th Street.

Officials say they are trying to close the gap when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. They’re discussing ways to encourage minority communities to get the shot.

“I was initially reluctant to take the vaccine because of historical reasons,” said the Rev. Jim Thurman, president of the NAACP Lexington-Fayette County Branch. “After much prayer, I saw the value of being vaccinated. COVID-19 was, and still is, hitting the African-American community and other communities of people of color, much harder. We need the vaccine.”

According to Gov. Beshear’s Office, while African-Americans make up approximately 8.4% of Kentucky’s population, they account for about 4.6% of those who have been vaccinated so far.

“The COVID-19 virus has hit the African-American community especially hard,” said Sen. Reginald Thomas. “I appreciate the Governor being here to promote and stress the importance of being vaccinated. We must encourage all Kentuckians to do the same, which will lead to a safer and healthier community going forward.”

We asked Gov. Beshear what’s being done on a daily basis to build the trust and reiterate the message. He said they’re sharing it at community centers, churches, and places people trust.

Gov. Beshear said providing transportation to and from vaccination sites is also critically important.

He says Blue Grass Community Action Partnership is offering free transportation to residents within its 11-county service territory with round-trip transportation from their home to either the Kentucky Horse Park or Ephraim McDowell Hospital.

In addition, the University of Kentucky is offering equity outreach clinics on Saturdays in areas underserved due to race, language, economic and other barriers.

The governor said group 1C of the vaccination plan will be eligible for the vaccine on March 1. That includes people 60 or older and all essential workers.

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