UVA physician shares why she’s getting vaccinated to ease concerns over safety

UVA physician shares why she’s getting vaccinated to ease concerns over safety

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Some people are downright suspicious about the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s especially true in some minority communities.

That’s why a University of Virginia doctor, who is part of those communities, is taking action.

With the COVID-19 vaccine already being given in some countries, like the United Kingdom, it’s approval in the United States seems near. University of Virginia’s hospital already has a plan to administer it.

But some, especially among Black and Latinx communities, have concerns about its safety and efficacy.

“The skepticism and the distrust of the medical community is warranted,” said Dr. Ebony Hilton, an anesthesiologist and critical care physician with UVA Health. “The medical community, we know historically, has had insults to the African American community.”

Dr. Hilton believes her voice can be valuable in spreading truth and science, while still understanding concerns.

“I, as a Black physician, a Black woman physician, I match the demographic of the greatest disparity.”

That disparity has led to death rates for Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians that are at least 2.5-times of their white counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We don’t have a miracle drug that if you get COVID-19 that we can automatically keep you alive,” Dr. Hilton said. “And so our best option is to prevent you from having this disease in the first place.”

That’s the goal of the vaccine, and Dr. Hilton says early data shows that can happen. She says she’ll share her vaccination experience to be transparent, and try to rebuild the relationship between healthcare and those they want to serve.

“If we’re as transparent as that, and again speaking with the community and not at the community, we can heal these generational wounds that we’ve caused in the medical community.”

Dr. Hilton also said that she hopes other healthcare providers will share their vaccination experience. Then, when others like teachers and other essential workers get the vaccine, she hopes they will share their stories as well.

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